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Yanks' staff mows 'em down
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07/14/2004  2:07 AM ET
Yanks' staff mows 'em down
Vazquez, Gordon, Rivera impress vs. NL's best
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
Yankees closer Mariano Rivera worked the ninth inning to polish off the American League's five-run victory. (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
• Mo records last out:  56K | 350K

HOUSTON -- For all of the talk about the Yankees' pitching woes, New York's trio of All-Stars certainly got the job done on Tuesday night.

Continuing his trend of performing in big-time situations, Javier Vazquez threw a perfect inning in his All-Star debut, retiring the side in order in the fifth.

"It was so much fun. What could be more fun than 1-2-3?" Vazquez said. "I wasn't nervous, but I thought I would be. I'm glad that I was able to stay calm out there."

After Vazquez and four other AL starters got the game to the seventh, Tom Gordon and Mariano Rivera helped close it out, as Gordon retired the only batter he faced in the eighth and Rivera tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to finish the AL's 9-4 win.

2004 All-Star Game

"I was really happy for all of our guys," said pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre. "They did well."

"It was more than enough for me. I was just happy to have a chance to pitch in the game," said Gordon, who made his second career All-Star appearance. "It was a good day for the Yankees. Hopefully this can be the start of something special."

The three Yankee hurlers retired all seven batters they faced, as the AL retired 15 of the final 17 National Leaguers to end the game.

"It was a lot of fun," Rivera said. "It was great for Gordon and Vazquez to pitch like they did."

   Javier Vazquez  /   P
Born: 07/25/76
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 205 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R

While Gordon and Rivera were making return trips to the All-Star Game, Vazquez was making his first appearance in the Midsummer Classic, having been selected to replace Oakland's Tim Hudson.

"Being my first All-Star Game, I just wanted to get in there. It was great," Vazquez said. "I just had one inning, so I wanted to get out of there without any harm done."

That's exactly how it played out, as the right-hander struck out Florida's Mike Lowell, then got Miguel Cabrera to ground out to shortstop. Vazquez closed out his inning of work by freezing Johnny Estrada for a called third strike, his second K of the frame.

   Tom Gordon  /   P
Born: 11/18/67
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 190 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R

"He did well," said Derek Jeter. "I was happy for the guys who came here for the first time, especially a teammate. He deserves it. He's been our most consistent starter all year."

"He seemed very relaxed," Alex Rodriguez said. "Coming from New York, we're used to some kind of circus, but he handled it all very well."

After preparing for his inning of work, Vazquez was able to kick back in the dugout and enjoy the final four innings, watching his league earn home-field advantage in the World Series.

   Mariano Rivera  /   P
Born: 11/29/69
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 185 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R

"Javy did exceptionally well, he threw a real nice inning," Stottlemyre said. "He looked like he was relaxed. He's done a great job."

With Vazquez on the bench, the Yankees' pair of All-Star relievers came in and did what they have done all season, retiring all four batters they faced.

"I'm usually out there," Jeter said. "But it was fun to watch those guys from the bench."

"We knew when our bullpen was coming in, with all of the weapons they have, it was over," said Gary Sheffield. "It was a good day for the AL and for the Yankees."

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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