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Minnesota (43-41)2003000016100
N.Y. Yankees (40-42) «05000002x7130

Matsui's late blast powers Yankees past Twins

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- Hideki Matsui left his first three at-bats behind him, wasn't worried about delivering with Alex Rodriguez out of the lineup and wasn't bothered by the funky motion of Twins reliever Pat Neshek.

The reserved slugger was focused on the moment.

Matsui hit a tiebreaking two-run homer off Neshek in the eighth inning to lift the New York Yankees to a 7-6 victory over Minnesota on Thursday.

"He's so professional that even when he's not swinging well it's easy to be convinced that he's going to do it, because you trust him so much," manager Joe Torre said.

Matsui, who batted cleanup with Rodriguez resting his strained left hamstring, came up with runners on in his first three plate appearances and was retired each time. He lined a single into right in the sixth before coming through in the ninth.

"I let the results go," Matsui said through a translator. "There's something learned from those at-bats but as far as the results, I'm going to leave it as that and move forward."

Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera also homered for New York, which played without Rodriguez for the first time this season. Torre said an MRI exam on Rodriguez's hamstring came back normal.

Derek Jeter walked with two outs in the eighth against Neshek (3-1) before Matsui hit a 3-1 pitch deep into the stands in right for his 10th homer of the season. Neshek entered the game with a 1.34 ERA and struck out the first two batters he faced.

"He got a fastball and he just crushed it," Neshek said. "That's what good hitters do when you miss your spot."

The mild-mannered Matsui acknowledged the cheering Yankee Stadium crowd with a brief curtain call after his second homer in as many games.

"It's a great feeling," he said. "It's just that we're still in the middle of the game and you don't want to have the game really be focusing on just that part."

Kyle Farnsworth (1-1) pitched a perfect eighth and Mariano Rivera allowed Joe Mauer's RBI groundout in the ninth before finishing for his 11th save in 13 opportunities. Rivera struck out Michael Cuddyer with a runner on second to end the game.

"We battled pretty good," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We gave ourselves a good chance in the ninth against one of the best relievers around."

It also was save No. 424 for Rivera, tying him with John Franco for third on the career list.

"The most important thing is that we won the game," Rivera said. "Without my teammates, I can't accomplish anything."

New York took three of four from the Twins and improved to 4-3 on its 10-game homestand, despite another shaky start by Kei Igawa. Minnesota didn't get much from Kevin Slowey, either, and optioned the rookie to Triple-A Rochester after he lasted just 3 2/3 innings in his shortest start of the season.

The Twins got to Igawa for two runs in the first and three in the fourth. Cuddyer and Justin Morneau had RBI singles as Minnesota's first four batters of the game reached against the struggling Yankees starter.

"He was throwing a lot of fastballs, leaving a lot of pitches up," Cuddyer said.

Jason Bartlett hit a two-out, two-run double in the fourth and scored on Mauer's single to tie it at 5-5.

Igawa departed after retiring the Twins in order in the fifth. He allowed seven hits, walked three and struck out three. The Japanese left-hander hasn't recorded a victory since he pitched six shutout innings in relief against Boston on April 28.

Slowey allowed five runs in the second after retiring the first two batters of the inning.

Cano hit a solo drive, Miguel Cairo doubled in a run and Cabrera hit a three-run homer to make it 5-2. It was Cabrera's fourth of the season and first since June 2 at Boston, snapping a string of 108 at-bats without a homer. He finished with three hits.

Cairo started at third for Rodriguez, who was injured Monday night while beating out a potential double play. He advanced to second before leaving the game. He played each of the next two days and said after Wednesday's 6-2 loss to Minnesota that his hamstring didn't feel any better or worse.

The Yankees finished with 13 hits without him, and put runners on in every inning they batted.

"It's enormously important," Torre said. "We're going to need contributions from more than Alex."

Notes

  • Minnesota recalled left-hander Carmen Cali to take Slowey's roster spot. The Twins used three relievers against the Yankees and have a day-night doubleheader on Friday against the Chicago White Sox.
  • Twins second baseman Luis Castillo rested for the second day in a row. He has sore legs and a swollen left hand from being spiked. Nick Punto replaced Castillo and singled in the sixth inning to snap an 0-for-22 skid.
  • Igawa hasn't won a start since he beat Cleveland on April 18.
  • Neshek lost out to Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima for the final spot on the AL All-Star team in online voting.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Hideki Matsui takes off after hitting his 10th jack of the season to help the Yankees win.  (AP)
Hideki Matsui takes off after hitting his 10th jack of the season to help the Yankees win. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

M. Cabrera
AB 5
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 3
Minnesota

J. Mauer
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
 

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Minnesota Twins
Jason Bartlett, SS4212122 .254
Joe Mauer, C4122100 .302
Michael Cuddyer, RF4011113 .280
Justin Morneau, 1B4011002 .283
Torii Hunter, CF4000022 .295
Jeff Cirillo, DH4120000 .273
Lew Ford, LF4000033 .236
Luis Rodriguez, 3B4110001 .185
Nick Punto, 2B2110100 .205
   a- Jason Kubel, PH1010000 .246
    Jason Tyner, PR0000000 .279
Totals35610648  
a-singled for Punto in the 9th
Batting
2B - Jason Bartlett (11, Igawa), Jeff Cirillo (7, Igawa)
RBI - Jason Bartlett 2 (23), Joe Mauer 2 (32), Michael Cuddyer (52), Justin Morneau (63)
2-OUT RBI - Jason Bartlett 2 (10), Joe Mauer (13)
SB - Jason Tyner (6, 2nd base off M. Rivera/Posada)
Team LOB - 6
Minnesota Twins
Kevin Slowey 3.2855222 5.84
Dennys Reyes 1.2200120 4.12
Matt Guerrier 1.2200010 1.76
Pat Neshek (L,3-1) 1122121 1.74
WP - Kevin Slowey (1), Dennys Reyes (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Kevin Slowey 91-60, Dennys Reyes 30-20, Matt Guerrier 28-15, Pat Neshek 21-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kevin Slowey 3-6, Dennys Reyes 1-2, Pat Neshek 1-0
Batters Faced - Kevin Slowey 21, Dennys Reyes 8, Matt Guerrier 7, Pat Neshek 5
New York Yankees
Johnny Damon, CF4110110 .249
Melky Cabrera, LF-CF5133011 .272
Derek Jeter, SS3110202 .341
Hideki Matsui, DH-LF5122014 .273
Jorge Posada, C5000012 .324
Bobby Abreu, RF4010010 .260
Robinson Cano, 2B4121001 .270
Andy Phillips, 1B3120101 .286
Miguel Cairo, 3B4111023 .244
Totals37713747  
Batting
2B - Bobby Abreu (15, Slowey), Andy Phillips (2, Slowey), Miguel Cairo (5, Slowey)
HR - Melky Cabrera (4, Slowey), Hideki Matsui (10, Neshek), Robinson Cano (5, Slowey)
RBI - Melky Cabrera 3 (30), Hideki Matsui 2 (49), Robinson Cano (36), Miguel Cairo (6)
2-OUT RBI - Melky Cabrera 3 (11), Hideki Matsui 2 (18), Robinson Cano (11), Miguel Cairo (4)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Melky Cabrera 1
DP - Cano-Jeter-Phillips
New York Yankees
Kei Igawa 5755330 7.14
Luis Vizcaino 1100020 5.27
Scott Proctor 1000100 3.80
Kyle Farnsworth (W,1-1) 1000010 4.59
Mariano Rivera (S,11) 1211020 3.94
WP - Kei Igawa (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Kei Igawa 97-62, Luis Vizcaino 14-10, Scott Proctor 14-9, Kyle Farnsworth 17-12, Mariano Rivera 24-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kei Igawa 3-8, Luis Vizcaino 1-0, Scott Proctor 1-1, Mariano Rivera 1-0
Batters Faced - Kei Igawa 24, Luis Vizcaino 4, Scott Proctor 3, Kyle Farnsworth 3, Mariano Rivera 5
Game Information
Attendance - 52471
Game Time - 3:32
Temperature - 81
Umpires - Home - Dan Iassogna, First Base - Wally Bell, Second Base - Ron Kulpa, Third Base - Adrian Johnson