Godzilla Attacks Cincinnati

Godzilla roared for the first time in a long time on Thursday night. Hideki Matsui, dropped down to the seventh spot in the batting order, had the best offensive game of his major-league career. The outfielder had four hits behind starter Jose Contreras (3-1) to lead the Yankees past the Reds 10-2, preventing a sweep in Cincinnati.

In the third inning, Hideki Matsui capped off a five-run Yankee rally with a monster-sized two-run homerun to deep centerfield that bounced off a building about 20 feet beyond the centerfield fence. The homerun put the Yankees up 5-2, and really blew the game open.

Contreras, making the second start of his career, grabbed his second win as a starter by holding down the Reds despite some early troubles. Contreras allowed the Reds to load the bases in the first inning with nobody out, and things were looking dicey. The Cuban defector bore down and induced Austin Kearns to ground the ball toward third, forcing the out at home. With the bases still loaded, Aaron Boone grounded into the inning-ending double play.

The Reds loaded the bases again in the third inning, but Jason LaRue struck out to end the inning.

Contreras cruised for the rest of the game, allowing just a second-inning solo-homerun to LaRue and a Kearns RBI single in the third inning. The right-hander finished with seven innings pitched, allowing just five hits and three walks while striking out six. The outing lowered his ERA even further, to a more respectable 4.62.

Danny Graves (3-5) started for the Reds but was bothered by blister problems on the middle finger of his pitching hand. Graves was forced to leave the game after just three innings of work, and was charged with the loss. He allowed six runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out just two.

Joe Torre rearranged his lineup for the game, hoping to spark his offense. Sporting the more traditional top three of Alfonso Soriano, Derek Jeter and Jason Giambi, the Yankees pounded out 16 hits, including ten doubles. Every Yankee starting position player had at least one hit, and Bubba Trammell added a pinch-hit double in the eighth inning.

Matsui's four hits were the most in one game in his major league career, and were joined by Soriano's three hits from the top of the order. Soriano homered in the ninth to put the game out of reach. The second baseman also stole two bases, giving him 17 steals and 18 homeruns on the season.

Torre was ejected in the sixth inning for arguing balls and strikes by home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman. Ken Griffey Jr. sat the game out after injuring his arm right before hitting a homerun in Wednesday's game.

Matsui hadn't homered since May 7 against the Seattle Mariners.

Pinstripes Plus Top Stories