Matsui Prevails: Yankees Take Championship Series In Six
Last night, Hideki Matsui proved to be the most valuable DH of 2009. In his last year on contract, he was supposed to be finished and Game 6 was going to be his swan song.
However, Matsui quietly put up outstanding numbers as an aging designated hitter. (28 home runs, 90 RBI's, .274 batting average.)
Matsui had big hits in the clutch throughout the whole season, and continued his superb late-inning hitting during the October and the early stages of November.
Matsui had struggled in the first two series hitting only .233 with 1 home run and 5 RBI's. Yankee fans were skeptical that they would have a strong pinch hitter to use in away games with the pitcher in the batting order.
Matsui was still the number one man off the bench despite not being able to field due to his knees and his struggles earlier in October.
Matsui found his stroke in Game 1. In his first at bat, he pulled a single into right field for the Yankees first hit off of Pedro Martinez. With the game tied at one run apiece, Matsui blasted a two out home run to right field. This home run gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead, and it was enough as they held on for a 3-1 win to even the series at 1.
In Philadelphia, Matsui was forced to be a pinch hitter due to not being able to play the field with his bad knees. In Game 3, Matsui got a pinch-hitting opportunity. The Yankees led 7-4 and Brett Myers was on the mound. Matsui took a 1-1 pitch the other way, over the left field wall, to give the Yankees a 8-4 lead in Game 3.
Matsui failed as a pinch hitter in Game 4, but he came back strong in Game 5 with a single.
In the three games in Philadelphia, Matsui had two hits in three at bats, one of them being a big, solo home run.
In Game 6, Matsui earned the rights to the 2009 World Series MVP. Both pitchers were looking sharp early on, but with a man on first, Matsui hit a high fly ball down the right field line that stayed fair and cleared the wall.
Yet another big home run for Matsui, and it gave his team an early 2-0 lead.
But Matsui was not done. With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 3rd inning, Matsui stepped into the batter's box. Alex Rodriguez had just struck out, and the pressure was riding on Matsui.
In the hole 0-2, Matsui delivered with a two run single to center field, and the Yankees led 4-0.
Matsui would not stop with only 4 RBI's. With Alex Rodriguez on first and Mark Teixeira on second, Matsui pulled a double up against the right-center field scoreboard. The ball took an odd bounce off of the scoreboard, away from Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth. Teixeira scored easily and A-Rod hustled in from first. The Yankees led 7-1, and Matsui had driven in 6 of them.
Matsui's 6 RBI's tied an all-time World Series record for RBI's in a single game, previously set by Bobby Richardson in the 1960 World Series between the Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Matsui was named the World Series MVP due to an outstanding performance containing 8 hits in 13 at bats, with 3 home runs and 8 RBI's.
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