for this game

Matsui supports Hughes as Yankees top Orioles

Sep 18, 2007 - 4:50 AM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

BRONX, New York (Ticker) -- After a special road trip, the New York Yankees did not necessarily play their sharpest game but still avoided their usual post-Boston hangover.

Hideki Matsui hit his first home run in over a month and rookie Phil Hughes pitched into the sixth inning before tiring as the Yankees opened a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles with an 8-5 victory on Monday night.

The Yankees (86-64) have won 10 of their last 12 games but have also struggled following series finales against the Red Sox. New York now is 3 1/2 games behind Boston (90-61) in the American League East.

It also is 3 1/2 games ahead of the Detroit Tigers (83-68) in the AL wild card standings.

"We have to worry about ourselves," Yankees captain Derek Jeter said. "We can't worry about what anyone else is doing, we have no control over that. The only thing we can control is how we play. If we continue to win, we'll see what happens in a couple of weeks."

But in each of its last three series finales against Boston, New York has followed with defeats.

"Everyone, I thought, came out ready to play," Jeter said of a possible letdown. "The thing is, like I said about a month ago, we're in the playoffs now - so you can't have a letdown. We understand how big these games are."

The last instance was a blowout loss to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who took two of three here over two weeks ago. Playing at Yankee Stadium for the first time following a 7-2 road trip that before the game manager Joe Torre labeled as "special," the Yankees fell behind 2-0 before their first turn at bat.

Two innings later, they took the lead and never relinquished it as Matsui hit his 24th home run of the season. When Matsui crushed a 3-1 pitch from Baltimore starter Daniel Cabrera (9-17) into the right-center field seats, it was his first home run since August 8 and ended a career-high drought of 122 at-bats without a home run.

"The result was a home run," Matsui said through an interpreter. "The swing itself - it felt good. I put a good swing on it. I hit the ball hard. I haven't done that in a while so that was what felt good."

"That was good," Torre said of Matsui. "He hit a couple of balls hard tonight."

Hughes (4-3) gave up a two-run double to Nick Markakis before recording an out but settled down for most of the next five frames before struggling in the sixth. He allowed two runs and six hits - striking out three and walking two - and loaded the bases in the sixth by walking Aubrey Huff.

"I see a lot of toughness from him," Torre said. "I think the most important thing that I've seen from these young kids is that, if they do happen to get a bad result, it doesn't seem to really knock them off.

"They seem to think straight and try to straighten it out. He knows when it feels good for him. I don't think there's doubt in any of these kids' heads they can handle this."

After throwing ball one to Melvin Mora, Hughes was relieved by Edwar Ramirez, who fanned the Orioles third baseman but gave up three hits in the seventh and was replaced by Luis Vizcaino with two outs.

After allowing the three hits, Hughes retired 16 of the next 18 hitters before issuing a four-pitch walk to Miguel Tejada and a double to Kevin Millar.

"I got a little too fine with Tejada," Hughes said. "I thought the first curveball I threw was a pretty good pitch. I didn't get the call and then I fell behind, and I was walking (him) and I made a bad pitch to Millar and another walk and that's it.

"I probably could have been a little more aggressive to Tejada with two outs, but that's the way it goes sometimes."

Vizcaino then escaped a bases-loaded jam by striking out Kevin Millar to cap an eight-pitch at-bat. Kyle Farnsworth started the ninth but was relieved by closer Mariano Rivera, who got the final out for his 29th save and preserved Hughes' first win at Yankee Stadium.

"It's a good feeling (to win at Yankee Stadium)," Hughes said. "I actually did not know that. It seems like I haven't pitched my best baseball here."

The Yankees, who have won just five of their 13 meetings with Baltimore sandwiched Matsui's home run around a pair of two-run innings.

They tied it on Doug Mientkiewicz's two-run single in the second and, in the fourth, Robinson Cano lined a run-scoring double to left-center field and scored on Damon's base hit.

Cabrera pitched six innings in Baltimore's 12-0 win here on August 14 but struggled through five-plus innings and dropped his fifth straight decision. He allowed six runs and five hits while striking out five and walking three - hitting a pair of hitters to become the first 17-game loser in the AL.

"What he's got to do is he's got to repeat his delivery," Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said. "You just see his delivery at times, he falls off to the side. The inability to command his pitches comes and goes. He certainly has the stuff."

New York added two more in the sixth off reliever James Hoey as Bobby Abreu lined a RBI double. Alex Rodriguez followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Damon, who did a tumbling head-first slide.

When Damon scored, that gave Rodriguez his 142nd RBI of the season, tying his career high set five years ago with the Texas Rangers.

In addition to Rodriguez reaching his career best in RBI, Jeter also recorded a milestone. His second hit of the game gave him 2,337 for his career, moving him past Bernie Williams into fourth place on New York's all-time list.

The Orioles lost for the 20th time in their last 26 games and had a number of opportunities in this one as they stranded 11. They twice left the bases loaded and, following Markakis' RBI double off Kyle Farnsworth, Mora struck out for the final out.

"I thought I was going to tie the game," Mora said. "He threw me a nasty pitch. I thought I would have got it. It's tough when you don't come through with runners in scoring position."








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    BALTIMORE 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 5 13 0
    NY YANKEES 0 2 1 2 0 2 0 1 x 8 13 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: BAL - DANIEL CABRERA, JAMES HOEY (6TH), KURT BIRKINS (7TH), RADHAMES
    LIZ (8TH) AND RAMON HERNANDEZ
    NYY - PHIL HUGHES, EDWAR RAMIREZ (6TH), LUIS VIZCAINO
    (7TH), KYL

    Sep 17 11:02 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY AUBREY HUFF SCORED NICK MARKAKIS.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, A HUFF ON SECOND, K MILLAR ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 5
    NY YANKEES 8 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR BALTIMORE: M MORA (.271, 1-FOR-4)

    Orioles vs. YankeesSep 17 11:00 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY NICK MARKAKIS SCORED BRIAN ROBERTS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, N MARKAKIS ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 4
    NY YANKEES 8 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR BALTIMORE: M TEJADA (.299, 0-FOR-2, BB, HBP)

    Orioles vs. YankeesSep 17 10:52 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY BOBBY ABREU SCORED DEREK JETER.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, B ABREU ON FIRST, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 3
    NY YANKEES 8 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: A RODRIGUEZ (.313, 1-FOR-3, SF, RBI)

    Orioles vs. YankeesSep 17 10:30 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY TIKE REDMAN SCORED JAY PAYTON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, T REDMAN ON FIRST, B ROBERTS ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 3
    NY YANKEES 7 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR BALTIMORE: N MARKAKIS (.291, 1-FOR-3, 2 RBI)

    Orioles vs. YankeesSep 17 9:39 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY ALEX RODRIGUEZ SCORED JOHNNY DAMON.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, B ABREU ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 2
    NY YANKEES 7 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: H MATSUI (.289, 1-FOR-3, HR, RBI)

    Orioles vs. YankeesSep 17 9:31 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND RULE DOUBLE BY BOBBY ABREU SCORED DOUG MIENTKIEWICZ.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, B ABREU ON SECOND, J DAMON ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 2
    NY YANKEES 6 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: A RODRIGUEZ (.313, 1-FOR-3)

    Orioles vs. YankeesSep 17 9:29 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JOHNNY DAMON SCORED ROBINSON CANO.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J DAMON ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 2
    NY YANKEES 5 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: D JETER (.316, 1-FOR-2)

    Orioles vs. YankeesSep 17 8:36 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY ROBINSON CANO SCORED JASON GIAMBI.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R CANO ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 2
    NY YANKEES 4 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: D MIENTKIEWICZ (.241, 1-FOR-1, 2 RBI)

    Orioles vs. YankeesSep 17 8:32 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY HIDEKI MATSUI (24) TO RIGHT CENTER WITH 2
    OUT IN THE 3RD OFF DANIEL CABRERA.
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 2, NY YANKEES 3
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: J POSADA (.336, 1-FOR-1)

    Orioles vs. YankeesSep 17 8:15 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY DOUG MIENTKIEWICZ SCORED JORGE POSADA AND JASON
    GIAMBI.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, R CANO ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 2
    NY YANKEES 2 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: J DAMON (.260, 0-FOR-1)

    Orioles vs. YankeesSep 17 7:58 PM


  • AL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    BALTIMORE 2 2 3 0
    NY YANKEES 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: BAL - DANIEL CABRERA
    NYY - PHIL HUGHES

    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: J DAMON (.260, 11 HR, 58 RBI)
    D JETER (.315, 11 HR, 67 RBI)
    B ABREU (.286, 16 HR, 96 RBI)

    Orioles vs. YankeesSep 17 7:25 PM
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    Orioles vs. YankeesSep 16 3:45 PM
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    roots
    Yankee82 Added 5 roots

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