A Pie for Godzilla: Hideki Matsui Hits Walk-Off Homer as Yanks Beat O’s

July 20, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

It was like a scene out of The Natural.

Hideki Matsui, playing the role of Roy Hobbs, broke his bat in the ninth and the batboy handed him a new one.  It must’ve been a “Savoy Special” because soon after, the 35-year-old lefty hit a walk-off homer to deep right field to win the game for New York.

I’m sure George Steinbrenner was just happy Godzilla didn’t break the lights.

Here are the grades from the Yankees’ dramatic 2-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.


Joe Girardi, Manager: (A) Even with his two best relievers unavailable due to their heavy work load of late, Girardi was able to manage the bullpen to perfection.  First, he let starter Andy Pettitte begin the eighth even though he had already thrown 99 pitches. 

Then, when Pettitte got into trouble, he brought in Phil Coke to face Nick Markakis, who was 0-4 in his career against the lefty.  Coke got Markakis to ground into a fielder’s choice when Mark Teixeira and Jose Molina teamed up on an incredible play to nab Cesar Izturis at the plate and Coke escaped the second and third, one out jam.

After Coke “hit” Adam Jones with a pitch and got Aubrey Huff to line out to center to start the ninth, Girardi brought in Alfredo Aceves to face Melvin Mora, who was 1-1 with a walk against Coke but just 1-3 versus Ace.  The righty got Mora to fly out and Aceves was able to wriggle out of the mini-jam.


Derek Jeter, SS: (C) The captain was 0-3 with a walk and made a spectacular spinning throw to first to end the fourth.


Johnny Damon, LF: (A-) Damon was 1-3 with a base on balls but struck out twice.


Mark Teixeira, 1B: (A) Teixeira had just a single in four at bats, but he made the defensive play of the game when he threw out Izturis at the plate to keep the game tied in the eighth.  After the play, New York Daily News beat writer Mark Feinsand tweeted, “Giambi makes that play.  Easy.”


Alex Rodriguez, 3B: (F) A-Rod was 0-4 and struck out looking with runners at the corners and one out in the first.  Letting Orioles young starter David Hernandez off the hook there nearly cost the Yanks a win.


Hideki Matsui, DH: (A+) That was Godzilla’s second walk-off homer of his career and the Bombers’ ninth walk-off victory of the year.


Robinson Cano, 2B: (D+) Cano was 0-3 and flew out with the bases loaded to end the first, but he made a possible game-saving defensive play in the eighth.  With Izturis going on the pitch, he had no idea that Brian Roberts had just lifted a double down the right field line. 

So, when Cano made believe that he had the ball, Izturis was forced to slide, preventing him from scoring on the play.  He, of course, would later be thrown out at the plate by Teixeira.


Eric Hinske, RF: (A+) Hinske continues to tear it up as a Yankee.  His game-tying solo shot in the second was his fourth in just 13 at bats with the team.


Melky Cabrera, CF: (D) Cabrera was 0-3 but made a nice knee-high catch on Huff’s liner in the ninth.


Jose Molina, C: (B+) This is why the Yankees had no problem sending Francisco Cervelli down to the minors when Molina returned from the DL.  Molina might’ve gone 0-3, but he made two outstanding plays in the eighth.  First, on the swipe tag to get Izturis and then on the throw to Coke to nab Roberts after a wild pitch.  He also handled Pettitte very well.


Nick Swisher, RF: (INC) Not sure why Girardi felt the need to bring in Swisher to replace Hinske in right in the ninth inning.  Is he really that much better defensively?  I thought the manager could’ve saved him to pinch hit at the most opportune time.


Andy Pettitte, SP: (A+) Pettitte tied his longest outing of the season with a 7.1 inning effort during which he surrendered just one run on six hits and two walks, while striking out eight.  He looked like the Andy of old, inducing two double plays to get out of jams.  Pettitte didn’t get the win, but he deserved it.


Phil Coke, RP: (A) The lefty didn’t have his best stuff, but he got out of the pickle in the eighth and retired three of the four batters he faced.


Alfredo Aceves, RP: (A) No Mo, no Hughes, no problem.


Yankees Overall Grade: (A-) Not the greatest hitting performance but a great job by Pettitte and the pen and perhaps the best defensive game the Yankees have played all year earns New York its fourth straight win (a franchise record three in a row by a score of 2-1) and a share of the AL East lead and best record in the league.


Follow me on Twitter at JordanHarrison.

Jordan Schwartz is Bleacher Report’s New York Yankees Community Leader. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and authorhouse.com.

Jordan can be reached at jordanschwartz2003@yahoo.com

readers comments
  1. felix on July 30th, 2014 8:49 am


    thank you….

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