Final

Series: Game 1 of 2

NY Yankees leads 1-0 (as of 4/12)

Game 1: Friday, April 11
Tampa BayPostponed
NY Yankees
Game 1: Saturday, April 12
Tampa Bay4Final
NY Yankees5
Game 2: Sunday, April 13
Tampa Bay2Final
NY Yankees1

Devil Rays 4

(4-7, 0-1 away)

Yankees 5

(9-1, 4-0 home)

    1:05 PM ET, April 12, 2003

    Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York 

    123456789 R H E
    TB 000210100 4 9 3
    NYY 040000001 5 11 2

    W: A. Osuna (1-1)

    L: T. Harper (0-1)

    Matsui's single in ninth beats Devil Rays

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Hideki Matsui made history with the first "sayonara'' hit for the New York Yankees.

    Hideki Matsui

    New York's potent lineup is beginning to turn it on.

    Matsui's bases-loaded single with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning Saturday helped the Yankees match their best start ever with a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for their ninth win in 10 games.

    "I put the team in a bad spot,'' said Matsui, who hit into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the seventh. "I was relieved to get that hit at the very end.''

    New York has won five straight -- with Matsui providing big hits in three of those games -- to tie the start of the 1988 team. No Yankees team has ever started a season 10-1.

    Matsui also stranded two runners in the first and fifth innings and was 0-for-4 before his latest big moment in New York.

    "I'm happy to come up in situations where there's a lot of pressure to make something happen,'' Matsui said through an interpreter. "Maybe if I didn't get that hit I wouldn't have come back alive. I might have been bombarded by the fans.''

    Not likely.

    Matsui is quickly becoming a fan favorite. He became the first Yankee to hit a grand slam in his first game at Yankee Stadium against Minnesota on Tuesday and drove in both runs in a 2-0 win over the Twins on Thursday.

    They didn't even boo after his double play in the seventh inning and stood and cheered following his game-ending hit -- which are called "sayonara'' hits in Japan.

    "We're certainly giving him a lot of opportunities to be dramatic,'' New York's Todd Zeile said. "The true sign of a professional is that after the first time with the bases loaded when he tried to do too much and hit into a double play, he didn't let the same mistake happen.''

    Zeile started the winning rally with one out in the ninth against Travis Harper (0-1) when he reached on third baseman Damion Easley's second error of the game.

    "I had it in there and when I went to make the turn, I didn't have it in there,'' Easley said. "You can't give any team extra outs, especially the Yankees.''

    Jason Giambi followed with a hard single to right field and Bernie Williams walked to load the bases.

    Matsui then hit on 0-1 pitch in the hole between shortstop and third base to score Zeile with the winning run. The Yankees poured out of the dugout to congratulate Matsui at first base.

    "He uses the whole field, which makes him really tough,'' Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "To bounce back from that double play was big for him and big for us.''

    Zeile hit a two-run homer in the second and Bubba Trammell went 4-for-4 with a two-run double in the second inning. Antonio Osuna (1-1) pitched a perfect ninth for the win.

    Rookie Rocco Baldelli went 3-for-4 with two doubles, two runs and an RBI for the Devil Rays. Baldelli has hit safely in all 11 games this season.

    Only two players since 1990 have started their careers with longer hitting streaks than Baldelli's. Ryan McGuire hit in 12 straight in 1997 for Montreal and Juan Pierre hit in 16 consecutive games for Colorado in 2000.

    But Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella was too upset by his team's shoddy fielding to find much positive in this game. The Devil Rays have committed an AL-high 16 errors.

    "What I don't like is the errors we put up on that error list every game,'' Piniella said. "I'm getting sick of it.''

    The Yankees jumped out to a 4-0 lead against Joe Kennedy on the big hits by Trammell and Zeile before Tampa Bay fought back against Jeff Weaver.

    Baldelli led off the fourth inning with a double and Huff then lined a ball off Weaver's rear end for a single.

    Trainer Steve Donohue and Torre rushed out to check on Weaver, who stayed in the game after taking a few warmup tosses.

    Travis Lee followed with an RBI single and Ben Grieve hit a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2.

    Baldelli added an RBI single in the fifth to make it 4-3 and scored the tying run in the seventh. He doubled with two outs to knock out Weaver.

    Lefty Chris Hammond came on to face the left-handed Huff, who hit a drive to the wall in right-center that nicked off Williams' glove for a double.

    Weaver allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings to remain the only Yankees starter without a win. The other four members of the rotation are each 2-0.

    Kennedy allowed four runs and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings.

    Game notes


    Tampa Bay's starters are 0-4 with an 8.25 ERA. The Yankees' starters are 8-0 with a 2.43 ERA. ... Piniella fell to 56-57 in his career against the Yankees, the first team he managed. ... Yankees SS Erick Almonte committed his fourth error of the season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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