Matsui homered twice and drove in a career-high six runs in the
first three innings against Douglass to power the Yankees to an
11-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night.
Douglass never made it out of the third -- he was ejected for
hitting John Flaherty in the knee with a pitch three batters after
Matsui's second shot. The ejection by plate umpire Chris Guccione
came without a warning.
"I didn't even know how to react. I've never been tossed from a
game," Douglass said. "I'm still upset at it."
Javier Vazquez (13-6) allowed three runs in the first inning but
yielded only two doubles and a single the rest of the way before
being removed after the eighth inning.
Matsui had his first multihomer gamer in 1½ seasons since coming
to the major leagues from Japan. His three-run shot in the first
inning offset one hit by Carlos Delgado in the top half.
"It was definitely huge for the team and huge for Javy,"
Douglass (0-2) was hoping to give the beleaguered Blue Jays
bullpen a rest, but that plan was scrapped when he was thrown out.
"Whatever he thought, he thought wrong," he said of Guccione.
Flaherty was down in the count 1-2, after twice trying to bunt
with Bernie Williams on third. Douglass came inside with a
fastball, struck Flaherty on the front knee, and was immediately
"I was running to first base and I didn't understand why the
fans were cheering as loud as they were," Flaherty said. "It was
as big a surprise for me as anybody."
Toronto manager Carlos Tosca charged out of the dugout and spent
most of his time talking with first base umpire Tim Tschida, the
crew chief. Tosca was already in a pitching crisis because
overworked right-handed relievers Kerry Ligtenberg, Vinnie Chulk
and Jason Frasor were unavailable.
Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay was ejected in similar fashion last
season, and Tosca ranked this call on par with that one.
"That's the probably the worst judgment I've seen an umpire use
from rookie league ball to the big leagues," Tosca said.
Tschida spoke on behalf of the umpires and explained that
Guccione saw catcher Gregg Zaun move way inside. With the game
getting away from the Blue Jays, he determined that Douglass'
intent was to hit Flaherty
"At that point he has two choices, he can warn both teams or he
can eject him," Tschida said.
Tosca handed the ball to Justin Miller, who allowed both
inherited runners to score. Miller then gave up three runs of his
own, one of which was earned.
Matsui, who finished 3-for-5, stretched the Yankees lead to 5-3
in the third with a solo homer off Douglass, and he capped off
the six-run inning with a single that drove in two.
"He seems to be taking more liberties now," manager Joe Torre
said. "He's become a little more confident."
Matsui became the second Japanese player, and second Matsui, to
hit two home runs in a major league game. New York Mets shortstop
Kaz Matsui did it July 2 against the Yankees at Shea Stadium.
In his first season with the Yankees in 2003, Matsui hit 16
homers in 163 games. He already has 22 homers in 108 games this
"Knowing the pitchers, that's the biggest difference of all,"
Matsui said through an interpreter. "It gives me a chance to have
a better plan at the plate."
New York (69-39) won for the sixth time in seven games to move
to a season-high 30 games over .500 and build a 10½-game lead over
second-place Boston, their largest advantage of the season.
The Blue Jays started a seven-game road trip with their fifth
loss in seven games.
Vazquez, starting against Toronto for the third time in his last four outings, allowed a one-out single in the first to Frank Catalanotto and then a single to Alex Rios before Delgado slammed the first pitch he saw into the right-center field bleachers.
"I thought I threw some good pitches in the first inning, but
sometimes they hit it," he said.
Vazquez, who pitched despite a bout with pink eye, settled down
and retired the next 11 hitters before Zaun doubled to lead
off the fifth. Vazquez allowed three runs and six hits, struck out
three and didn't walk anyone.
He won his third straight decision, including two over Toronto.
When Kevin Brown pitched eight innings in New York's 5-1 victory
over Oakland on Thursday it was just the 10th time a Yankees
pitcher went that long and the first in 19 starts.
Douglass gave up seven runs, seven hits and three walks in 2 1/3
Flaherty, playing in place of injured regular Jorge Posada, got
a measure of revenge in the seventh with a solo homer.
Toronto traded DH Josh Phelps to Cleveland for minor league
1B Eric Crozier. ... Posada sat out after bruising his right thumb
on a foul tip Thursday. He is day to day. ... Williams doubled
twice and moved past Joe DiMaggio into fourth place on the Yankees'