Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Matsui Goes Off; Yankees Take series in 6

Players of the Day for Wednesday, November 4, 2009 NY Yankees 7, Philadelphia Phillies 3 Prior to the 2003 season, the New York Yankees acquired Hideki Matsui from Japan's Yomiuri Giants with the promise of delivering more World Series glory to the team. Seven years and more then 3300 at-bats, Matsui delivered on that promise with a magnificent Game 6 performance, taking out the Phillies by a 7-3 score, 4 games to 2. Matsui wasted little time making his presence felt. In the 2nd inning, with no outs and Alex Rodriguez aboard, he took Pedro Martinez out to right field, his two-run homer giving the Yankees an early 2-0 lead. With Martinez struggling to stay alive in the 3rd, Matsui stepped up with the bases full of Yankees and stroked a single off a two-strike, two-out high fastball. 4-1 Yankees. By the 5th inning, with Martinez out of the game, replaced by reliever Chad Durbin, it was becoming apparent that New York was on their way. After Derek Jeter doubled to lead off the inning and scored on Mark Teixeira's single, Rodriguez walked and Matsui appeared again at the plate, this time driving a double to right center, plating both of his teammates for a 7-1 lead. Matsui had driven in 6 runs with a single, double and home run in 3 at-bats. Andy Pettitte protected the lead well until the 6th inning, allowing just one run in the 3rd inning until Ryan Howard finally got untracked with his first homer of the series. with Chase Utley aboard, Howard drove the ball into the left field stands, cutting the Yankee lead to 7-3. Yankee relievers Joba Chamberlain and Damaso Marte came on to work the last out in the 6th, the entire 7th and the first out in the 8th inning before manager Joe Girardi brought on closer Mariano Rivera. When Rivara induced a weak ground ball from Shane Victorino to second baseman Robinson Cano, the verdict was in: the New York Yankees had captured their 27th World Series championship. Andy Pettitte took the win, his second of the series. Pettite completed a remarkable post-season, which began by breaking a tie with John Smoltz for the most career post-season wins when he pitched the clincher in the divisional series sweep over Minnesota. It was Pettitte's 16th win in the post-season. He also won the ALCS clincher against the Angels, plus the two World Series wins for 18 post-season wins, a record that likely will stand for a long time. After Smoltz, who is probably pondering retirement, there are no active players listed among the leaders. Matsui was named Series MVP shortly after the game. He batted an incredible .615 (8-for-13), with 3 home runs and 9 RBI. Tomorrow: That's a wrap on the 2009 season.

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