Matsui's Homer in Ninth Sends Yankees Past Orioles

New York Yankees' Eric Hinske crosses the plate after hitting a home run off Baltimore Orioles starter David Hernandez in the second inning of a baseball game at Yankee Stadium on Monday, July 20, 2009, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
New York Yankees' Eric Hinske crosses the plate after hitting a home run off Baltimore Orioles starter David Hernandez in the second inning of a baseball game at Yankee Stadium on Monday, July 20, 2009, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens - AP)
Associated Press
Tuesday, July 21, 2009

NEW YORK, July 20 -- Hideki Matsui homered off Jim Johnson in the ninth inning Monday night to give the streaking New York Yankees a 2-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Matsui lined a 2-2 pitch into the right-field seats off 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 came 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 Monday night, 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 the first time since the end of the 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 the AL East and has lost 25 of its last 27 road games against division rivals dating to July of last year.

Yankees reliever Alfredo Aceves (6-1) escaped a two-on jam in the eighth when the Orioles' Nolan Reimold hit an inning-ending flyout.

Baltimore's 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, 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 after César Izturis's one-out single and Brian Roberts's double off the right field wall chased 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. José 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 on Roberts, who 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.

Hernandez, recalled from Class AA 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.


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