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Matsui, Pettitte lead Yankees past A's

Jun 13, 2008 - 6:27 AM By Al Barba PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- Hideki Matsui celebrated his 34th birthday in grand fashion.

Matsui hit his fifth career grand slam and Andy Pettitte pitched eight masterful innings as the New York Yankees claimed a 4-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday night.

With New York trailing, 1-0, Derek Jeter led off the decisive sixth inning with an infield single before Oakland starter Joe Blanton (3-9) walked Bobby Abreu and Alex Rodriguez to load the bases.

Matsui made Blanton pay, depositing a 1-1 pitch into the seats in right field for his seventh home run of the season.

"It was the perfect situation with no outs," Matsui said through an interpreter. "I was looking for a pitch up in the zone and something I could hit to the outfield. It was a changeup up in the zone. ... It was huge in the sense that we were able to get a couple of runs and it was big for the team."

Blanton had no regrets about his pitch selection.

"It was a pretty decent pitch," he said. "I went soft away with a changeup. It had been a pretty good pitch to him all night and it wasn't a bad pitch. He was just sitting on it and I went to the well one too many times trying to get him on it."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi was pleased with the way the inning unfolded.

"(Matsui) hit it hard and the other guys did a great job of getting on base working the counts, they really had a couple of great at-bats," Girardi said.

The blast provided all the run support Pettitte (6-5) needed as he allowed just one run and five hits while walking one and striking out five in his longest outing of 2008. The 35-year-old lefthander, who tied a career high by allowing 10 runs against the Kansas City Royals in his previous start on Saturday, finished his outing by retiring the final 12 batters he faced.

"It was nice to win," Pettitte said. "I've been extremely disappointed after my last two starts. The guys got me a lead again and just didn't want to give it up. I was thankful I was able to give us a good start.

Mariano Rivera walked Eric Chavez to start the ninth but retired the next three batters in order - two via strikeout - to record his 18th save this season.

"The big momentum shift was the grand slam," Athletics manager Bob Geren said. "Even then, we started getting something going. Eric walked off of Rivera and he threw a couple of balls to Ellis and it looked like we were one hit from getting the tying run to the plate. It just didn't happen."

The Athletics scored their only run in the second inning, when rookie Carlos Gonzalez singled through the right side of the infield to drive in Ellis, who opened the frame with a double down the left field line.

Oakland had a chance to increase its slim 1-0 lead in the fifth inning, putting runners on second and third with one out. But Pettitte struck out Bobby Crosby and retired Jack Cust on a flyout to left field to end the threat.

Working out of that jam proved to me a big momentum shift for Pettitte and the Yankees.

"It was already 1-0 and their guy had been throwing well and we obviously had been shut down by then," Pettitte said. "I didn't want to press too much. I felt good and had the opportunity to go for a strikeout. That had been something I've been trying to do is go for a strikeout from pitch one and it's gotten me in trouble. I had the opportunity go for one there and I made a good pitch and was able to strike him out and get the next out and get out of the inning. It was obviously big."

Matsui's home run had a calming affect on Pettitte.

"After the grand slam, I was just telling myself, 'Don't you give up this lead again,'" Pettitte said.

"I can tell when Andy is locked in and he feels good," Girardi said. "Andy was tough all night. He gave us eight great innings."

Blanton allowed four runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings. The 27-year-old righthander walked three and struck out two en route to his third consecutive loss.








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

    BATTERIES: NYY - ANDY PETTITTE, MARIANO RIVERA (9TH) AND JOSE MOLINA
    OAK - JOE BLANTON, ANDREW BROWN (7TH), BRAD ZIEGLER
    (9TH) AND KURT SUZUKI

    HOME RUNS: NYY - HIDEKI MATSUI

    Jun 13 12:37 AM
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    roots
    slacker Added 5 roots

    Yankees 4, Athletics 1  Top 7, 0 OutsJun 13 12:02 AM


  • AL
    AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
    GRAND SLAM BY HIDEKI MATSUI (7) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    6TH OFF JOE BLANTON SCORED DEREK JETER, BOBBY ABREU AND ALEX
    RODRIGUEZ.
    CURRENT SCORE: NY YANKEES 4, OAKLAND 1
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: J GIAMBI (.266, 1-FOR-2)

    Yankees 4, Athletics 1  Top 6, 0 OutsJun 12 11:42 PM


  • AL
    AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CARLOS GONZALEZ SCORED MARK ELLIS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C GONZALEZ ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY YANKEES 0
    OAKLAND 1 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: D BARTON (.227, 3 HR, 19 RBI)

    Yankees 0, Athletics 1  Bot 2, 0 OutsJun 12 10:37 PM
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    roots
    Yankee82 Added 5 roots

    Yankees vs. AthleticsJun 12 8:03 PM