Yanks' Igawa baffles PawSox again

Pitches Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to 2-1 lead in IL semifinals

Kei Igawa has allowed three earned runs over 20 1/3 innings against Pawtucket this year. (Mike Janes/Four Seam Images)

By Kevin T. Czerwinski / MLB.com | September 5, 2008 7:23 PM ET

MOOSIC, Pa. -- Kei Igawa spent almost 45 minutes running and doing yoga in the PNC Field outfield late Friday afternoon, looking very much like a pitcher who was getting in an off-day workout.

The only problem with the scenario was that Igawa was scheduled to take the mound for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre a little more than 60 minutes after his vigorous regimen, prompting Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson to offer the following observation.

"Maybe he'll be tired for us," Johnson commented as Igawa dropped to the ground and launched into a series of stretches.

No such luck.

If Igawa's customary pregame routine cost him in any way, it wasn't obvious. The southpaw continued his amazing International League run by picking up his third victory of the year against Pawtucket and 15th overall as the Yankees emerged with a 6-4 victory to go up a game in the opening round of the Governors' Cup playoffs.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is in position to close out the PawSox on Saturday night, weather-permitting.

Igawa's performance was only fitting since he was named the Yankees' Pitcher of the Year before the game, earning a nifty trophy -- of a right-hander pitcher -- to go with the honor.

"Getting the award was definitely an honor because it wasn't me voting for myself," Igawa said. "I felt like I did my job today."

Igawa did do his job, even if he wasn't perfect in the early going. He danced in and out of trouble in three of the first four innings, but the final line had him allowing only five hits and two runs -- one earned -- over seven innings. He clearly saved his best effort for his final three-plus innings, retiring the last 10 batters he faced.

The 29-year-old left-hander struck out a pair in the seventh, and it appeared he could have gone longer than the 103 pitches that were allotted him. The bullpen, however, preserved the win, allowing Igawa to improve to 10-1 in 15 games at PNC Field this season.

"That's the American system with the pitch counts," Igawa said. "Physically, though, I was able to throw as many pitches as the manager would have wanted me to."

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre manager Dave Miley has watched Igawa's pregame routine but has done nothing to change it. Based on what Igawa showed Friday, why should he?

"He's 15-5, so I don't think it makes him too tired," Miley said. "It's just his routine and he comes out ready to pitch.

"The last three innings he pitched were his best of the game and the last inning was probably the best of the seven. This was big because both teams got back late after a long bus trip [Thursday night]. To give us seven innings like Kei did is a good job."

The Yankees quickly got to Brad Mills in his Triple-A debut, scoring in the first and second innings. Justin Christian led off the first with a single, took second on a wild pitch and, after advancing to third, scored on Juan Miranda's grounder to second.

Mills surrendered a leadoff double to Ben Broussard in the second, then plunked Matt Carson. After Broussard went to third on a fly ball, Mills made a wild pickoff throw to first base, allowing Broussard to score. Carson went to third and scored on Nick Green's single.

The Sox cut the lead to 3-2 in the fourth, but Eric Duncan, who is 5-for-9 in the series, smacked a three-run homer in the bottom of the inning to reopen the gap, and Igawa cruised from there. He got three ground-ball outs in the sixth and fanned Gil Velazquez and Josh Wilson in a 1-2-3 seventh.

Steve Jackson, who pitched so well in relief in Game 1, allowed a two-run homer to Dusty Brown in the eighth before Scott Strickland pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings to earn the save.

In other International League action:

Louisville Bats at Durham Bulls, ppd., rain

Kevin Czerwinski is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

View More