Yankees split series with White Sox
NEW YORK -- Looking for an elusive milestone, Mike Mussina got a big boost from Bubba Crosby.
The rookie outfielder hit a three-run homer in his first start for the New York Yankees, helping Mussina earn his 200th win with a 5-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.
Crosby also crashed into the fence to make a terrific catch and earned several standing ovations from Yankees fans who couldn't help but fall in love with his all-out play.
By the end of the day, they were chanting his name.
"He was all over the place," Mussina said. "He had a great game and we wouldn't have won without him."
Gary Sheffield drove in two runs to help the Yankees kick-start their offense a bit and gain a split of the four-game series.
"It was important that we win this game," Sheffield said.
After going 3-3 on their road trip, the White Sox head to Chicago for their home opener Tuesday against Kansas City.
"Realistically, we had a chance to be 4-2 or even 5-1," Frank Thomas said.
Mussina (1-2) was coming off two poor starts against Tampa Bay to start the season, and he got in trouble from the outset in this one, too. He made an error in the first inning and gave up three runs, prompting chants of "Moose!" to turn to boos on an overcast Easter Sunday.
But the right-hander settled down from there, becoming the 100th major league pitcher to reach 200 wins. It took him five tries.
Teammate Kevin Brown could be next on Tuesday -- he has 199 victories.
"It means I've been playing a long time and I've been lucky enough to stay healthy and play on some good teams and be consistent," Mussina said. "I'm pleased with that. I certainly hope it's not my last one. It's a big accomplishment."
Then he was asked if he'll be around for No. 300.
"Whose?" Mussina said.
Mussina allowed four runs -- three earned -- and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings. He struck out six and walked two.
Tom Gordon retired Magglio Ordonez with a runner on third to end the seventh, then pitched the eighth to preserve a 5-4 lead. Mariano Rivera worked the ninth for his third save in three chances. With two on and one out, he struck out Willie Harris, then retired Jose Valentin on a grounder.
Crosby, acquired from the Dodgers in a deal for Robin Ventura at the trade deadline last year, was a surprise in making the big league roster with a huge spring, when he batted .357 with two homers and 11 RBI.
Now, he's quickly becoming a fan favorite at Yankee Stadium.
After Dan Wright (0-1) walked Sheffield and Jorge Posada in the fourth, Crosby drove a 2-0 pitch off the facade of the upper deck in right field for a 4-3 lead. He pointed to the sky as he rounded the bases and popped out of the dugout for a curtain call.
"The new Babe Ruth in town," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said.
Playing a solid center field in place of an ailing Kenny Lofton and while Bernie Williams served as the designated hitter, Crosby also drew cheers after crashing into the right-center wall to catch Magglio Ordonez's drive in the third.
"It seemed like every other inning I was tipping my cap," he said.
Crosby hit his first big league homer in his first at-bat as a Yankee, a two-run shot on Friday.
"It's just been a dream come true," he said. "This day's pretty much tattooed in my mind."
Mussina gave the 4-3 lead right back, allowing a leadoff homer to Valentin in the fifth, his second in two days.
Sheffield put the Yankees ahead again with a two-out RBI double in the fifth. New York's powerful lineup has managed 21 runs in six games since its season-opening Tokyo trip.
The White Sox jumped on Mussina right away, scoring in the first on Thomas' RBI single and Carlos Lee's two-run double.
Sheffield cut it to 3-1 in the bottom half with a two-out RBI single.
Wright, winless in 15 starts last season, gave up five runs, four earned, and four hits in 4 2-3 innings.