Godzilla Walks Off In The Bronx

There's one thing that is already apparent about the Yankees' Hideki Matsui. He's got a flair for the dramatic. Matsui hit a walk-off homerun in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Cleveland Indians to give the Yankees a 5-4 lead. Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano both hit game-tying homeruns as the Yanks opened the second half of their season on a very high note.

After Jeter tied the game at four runs each in the bottom of the eighth inning, Matsui took Cleveland reliever David Riske's second pitch and sent into the right-field bleachers. It was his 10th homerun of the season, and it came at an excellent time.

Cleveland jumped out ahead of the Yankees in a game dominated by homeruns. Former Yankee Shane Spencer – who missed the last series between these two teams to enjoy the birth of his first child – led off the second inning with a long homerun off of Andy Pettitte.

In the fifth inning, Jhonny Peralta hit an RBI triple to centerfield to score a run and give the Indians a 2-0 lead. The ball was hit sharply to centerfield, and took a strange path through the air. It appeared to tail in and then away from Bernie Williams, who lunged for it but couldn't make the play. The ball went to the wall for a triple.

The Yankees got back in it in the sixth inning when Raul Mondesi singled, stole second base and scored on Soriano's 23rd homerun of the season. Cleveland got the lead back with two more runs in seventh, but Jeter's homerun erased that deficit.

Andy Pettitte pitched well, but didn't figure in the decision. He lasted seven innings and allowed four runs on seven hits and just one walk. He struck out six batters, despite some interesting home-plate umpiring.

Dale Scott, the man behind the catcher, had a very tight strike zone during the game – perhaps influenced by Yankee Stadium's use of the QuesTec system – and made some questionable calls.

In the eighth inning, Jason Giambi took a 2-2 pitch that was right over the plate. Assuming it was a strike, Giambi started to flip his bat away. But Scott called the pitch a ball and Giambi continued his at bat. He walked on the next pitch.

Like Pettitte, Cleveland starter Jason Davis pitched very well and didn't get a decision. He lasted 7 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on five hits and two walks while fanning six batters.

Riske (2-2) took the loss, allowing two homeruns and a walk in 2/3 of an inning. The Yankees' Mariano Rivera (4-0) got the win, allowing just a hit in the ninth inning.

Chris Hammond entered the game in eighth inning to keep the ballgame close. The Yankees were down 4-2 at the time. The newly acquired Armando Benitez – sporting a clean-shaven look – warmed up in the bullpen, but didn't enter the game once the Yankees tied it.

Game two of the four-game series is on Friday at 7:05 pm. Roger Clemens (8-6, 3.68) will take the mound for the Yankees. Brian Anderson (7-6, 4.13) will start for Cleveland.

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