Tuesday, July 21, 2009
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Matsui lifts Yankees to 2-1 win over Orioles

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[July 21, 2009]  NEW YORK (AP) -- Hideki Matsui homered off Jim Johnson in the ninth inning Monday night, giving the streaking New York Yankees a 2-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Matsui lined a a 2-2 pitch into the right-field seats off Jim Johnson (3-4), extending the Yankees' winning streak to four since the All-Star break. Matsui's only other game-ending homer in the majors was July 17, 2003, against Cleveland's David Riske.

The quiet slugger was mobbed by his teammates when he reached the plate after his winning shot, and A.J. Burnett got him with a whipped cream pie in front of New York's dugout.

New York (55-37), which began the night one game behind AL East-leading Boston, moved 18 games over .500 for first time since the end of 2007 season (94-68) with its third consecutive 2-1 win. The Yankees have won eight straight home games against the Orioles.


Baltimore dropped to 1-12 on the road this year against AL East and has lost 25 of last 27 road games against division rivals dating to July last year.

Alfredo Aceves (6-1) escaped a two-on jam in the ninth when Nolan Reimold hit an inning-ending flyout.

Nick Markakis hit a first-inning homer off Andy Pettitte, and Eric Hinske's second-inning homer against David Hernandez tied it. The three homers raised the total at new Yankee Stadium to 152 in 46 games, just eight shy of the total hit all of last season at the original Yankee Stadium.

Two Baltimore runners were thrown out at the plate on consecutive pitches in the eighth. Cesar Izturis' one-out single and Brian Roberts' double off the right-field wall chased Andy Pettitte. Phil Coke relieved, and Nick Markakis grounded to first baseman Mark Teixeira, whose off-balance throw home was to the first-base side of the plate.

Jose Molina caught it, with the ball visible, reached across his body and put his glove down into the plate, where Izturis slid into the tag. Coke's first pitch to Adam Jones bounced away from Molina toward the Yankees dugout. Molina rushed and threw to Coke for the tag. Roberts appeared to miss the plate as he tried to slap it on a headfirst slide.

Pettitte, 25-6 against the Orioles during the regular season, matched his season high with 7 1-3 innings. He allowed six hits and struck out eight, his highest total since Sept. 5 against Seattle.

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Hernandez, recalled from Double-A Bowie before the game, didn't allow a hit after the second inning and retired 16 of his last 17 batters. The 24-year-old right-hander allowed one run and three hits in six innings.

Markakis homered into the right-field bullpen two batters into the game. Thirteen of the 16 home runs allowed by Pettitte this year have been at Yankee Stadium.

Hinske tied it with a drive off the front of the second deck, his fourth homer in five games since the Yankees acquired him from Pittsburgh on June 30. That was New York's last hit off Hernandez, who needed 34 pitches to get through the first inning and 69 through the following five.

NOTES: Baltimore agreed to a minor league contract with former Mets and Rangers OF Victor Diaz.

[Associated Press; By RONALD BLUM]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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