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Bruney battered in 8th: 'I have no excuses'

The record says that Brian Bruney is perfect, which shows how misleading records can be.

In one of baseball's great oddities, he was listed as the winning pitcher last night even though he admittedly did less than any Yankee to record the win. He left Yankee Stadium with a 3-0 mark for the season and less satisfaction than anyone else.

"It's baseball, man," the setup man said after his team presented him with an 8-5 win after he squandered a 5-3 lead.

"My bad. Too many 0-and-2 hits and you can't do that," Bruney said. "I can go home and sleep on that. The ball bounces 6 inches to the right, we get a double play and we're probably out of the inning. But it all starts with bad 0-2 pitches."

The obvious question for manager Joe Girardi, of course, was why have Bruney in the game in the first place in the eighth inning, after Alex Rodriguez's two-run home run in the seventh had broken a 3-3 tie? Phil Hughes had thrown a perfect seventh inning against the Mariners' third, fourth and fifth hitters.

But repeatedly during his postgame news conference, Girardi said, "Bruney is our eighth-inning guy" and "we have to get Bruney going."

The problem was, Bruney got Seattle going, allowing three consecutive hits to start the eighth. He caught a break in that the Mariners decided to sacrifice after the third of those, moving runners to second and third and giving Girardi a ready excuse to intentionally walk the opponent's best hitter, Ichiro Suzuki. It was Bruney's good fortune that the Yankees bounced back with three runs in the eighth.

Girardi mentioned that Bruney has not pitched much since coming off the disabled list, that he had pitched well before that and that he has had two good outings and three not-so-good outings since his return.

"I have no excuses," Bruney said. "I'm not going to say it's because I was on the DL. I let the team down tonight and they picked me up."

Bill Shannon, the official scorer, said that baseball scoring rules allow for a pitcher to be denied the victory if he works "briefly and ineffectively." But the policy also is that if the pitcher completes an inning, as Bruney did, that does not qualify as "brief." In other words, there was no choice but to award him a win.

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