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06/17/10 12:46 AM ET
Age just a number as Moyer proves with 'W'
Veteran becomes oldest to beat Yankees; does so with ease
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Time stood still for one night at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday as the seemingly ageless Jamie Moyer shut down the Yankees on three hits over the course of eight innings. With Roy Halladay having been taken down by the Bombers on Tuesday night, it was imperative that the Phillies got a competent start out of Moyer, who might as well be nicknamed "Cy Old."
- 134 wins
- 118 wins
Call it age over ace. At 47, Moyer became the oldest pitcher to defeat the Yankees."I don't think I'm old," said Moyer, who allowed New York's first two runs on homers by Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada as the two-time defending National League champs rebounded with a 6-3 victory. "I don't believe it." What Halladay couldn't do on Tuesday, Moyer accomplished a day later. The Yankees flailed and were kept off balance all night as the left-hander walked one and whiffed five, rarely throwing harder than 78-82 mph. This after being crushed for nine runs on nine hits during a little more than an inning last Friday night at Boston in what was the worst start of his career. "He's been doing it for a long time, a really long time," said Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who was 0-for-4. "He never throws the ball over the plate. That goes to show you don't have to throw hard. He knows what he's doing. That's why he's been around so long." What's wrong with this picture? Last year, at 46, Moyer didn't even pitch in his club's six-game loss to the Yankees in the World Series, nor in any round of the playoffs. As of Wednesday night, at least, he was back. "Regardless of what people think or say, I still feel like I can go out there and compete," said Moyer, whose seventh win of the season was the 265th of his 24-year career, the most among active pitchers. "That's my ultimate job. I signed a contract here and my job is go out, prepare mentally and physically, and give it my best effort." These are the trappings of an endless career: It was his first start at the new Yankee Stadium, making it the 48th Major League ballpark in which he has thrown off a mound. The Posada home run, coming with one out in the fifth inning, was the 504th he's allowed, one short of the big league record held by Robin Roberts, the former Phillie and Hall of Famer who passed away last month. None of it mattered on Wednesday night. Aside from the homers, the Yankees had two other baserunners against him: A walk by Alex Rodriguez in the seventh and an infield single off the bat of Kevin Russo in the eighth. Fini. What made Moyer so difficult to hit? "He was changing speeds," said Russo, the starter at third base in lieu of A-Rod, who is recovering from a sore hip flexor and was in the lineup as the DH. "He was hitting both sides of the plate and he was throwing strikes. He's been doing it his whole career. I wouldn't say it was surprising." "I thought he lived on the edges [of the plate] and a little bit off," Yanks manager Joe Girardi added. "There were times he had us reaching a little bit. It looked like he was down in the zone most of the night and he wasn't making mistakes over the middle." It's the nature of baseball. The Yankees pounded the much harder throwing Halladay for six runs, eight hits and three homers one night and couldn't touch a soft-throw pitcher the next. "This was big," said Brian Schneider, the veteran catcher. "They're two completely different pitchers. Jamie came out and he was fired up all game. He came from Boston, which is not an easy place to pitch, to here, which is also not an easy place to pitch. He's got to keep the hitters off balance, which is exactly what he did." Ah, Fenway Park. With its great Green Monster in left field, it has always been a problematic place to pitch for left-handers, particularly on a night when the ball wasn't kept down in a 12-2 loss. First inning: Consecutive doubles by Victor Martinez, David Ortiz and Adrian Beltre followed by a Mike Lowell homer. The carnage continued in the second and Moyer was gone after four hits, three more doubles. A younger pitcher might still have been shaken going into Wednesday night's game. Not Moyer. He's heard the calls to retire after bad games and the accolades after good ones. "I've pretty much had that my whole career," he said. "It goes in one ear and out the other. I was told in 1991 that I should retire. I've said this for years: sooner or later somebody is going to be right. At this point, we're all going to have good days and bad days. When I was younger I probably did dwell on it and let that bother me. But through experience, I've come to temper that." And still he's able to pull an epic out from under his cap. Like a magician, his cutter, sinker and fastball, all pretty much thrown at the same speed, baffled Yankees hitters who spent the evening hitting mostly soft pop flies and ground balls. It wasn't a big deal to Moyer, he said. He and Schneider just followed the game plan. All in a day's work. But others were "amazed." "I don't know about other people, but I know I'm amazed with what he can do," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "That shows his love, passion and desire for the game. His preparation. His routine. He's always ready to pitch. I don't mind giving Jamie Moyer the ball, because I know he's going to give you everything he's got when he goes out there."