Yankees hail World Series success
Thursday 05 November 2009
Hideki Matsui called it "the best moment of my life" and Alex Rodriguez savoured a joyous end to a year which began badly for him as the New York Yankees won the World Series.
Matsui was the star of the show - and landed the Most Valuable Player award for his efforts in the series - after matching the World Series game record of six RBIs.
He struck a two-run homer in the bottom of the second inning, followed by a single and a double which each allowed two colleagues to score.
The Philadelphia Phillies offered little in response as they relinquished the title they landed in 2008, the Yankees running out 7-3 winners to secure a 4-2 series triumph. Today will be for celebrations, rather than a game seven.
Matsui, the Japanese designated hitter who joined the Yankees in 2003, could soon be on the move as his contract is due to expire, however the 35-year-old hopes to stay with the team.
"My first and foremost goal when I joined the Yankees was to win the world championship," he said. "Certainly it's been a long road and very difficult journey. But I'm just happy that after all these years we were able to win and reach the goal that I had come here for.
"I was happy to be able to hit and contribute to the team's win.
"But more than that, just us as a team, winning the championship, that's such a great feeling.
"I guess you could say that I guess this is the best moment of my life right now.
"If I were to look back, yes, this would be the best."
Matsui stressed he had "no idea" whether he would remain with the Yankees, whose triumph was their 27th in the World Series.
But if he has his say, he will stay.
Looking to the future and trusting it can be in New York, he said: "I hope it works out that way. I love New York, I love the Yankees, I love the fans here. I hope everything works out well."
In their first season at the new Yankee Stadium, the New York side lost the opening match of the post-season but then hit back to lead the series 3-1, only for the Phillies to slash that lead with Monday's 8-6 victory at Citizens Bank Park.
Game six was dominated by the Yankees though, and with the Empire State Building lit up in blue and white, it was a landmark day for the team.
Matsui gave the Yankees a strong start with his round-tripper in the bottom of the second, also allowing Rodriguez to score.
Carlos Ruiz scored in the top of the third to cut the lead, but the Yankees pulled 4-1 clear in the bottom of the inning when Matsui's single to centre field allowed Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon through.
After a scoreless fourth inning, the home side stretched their lead to 5-1 as Jeter scored in the bottom of the fifth off a single from Mark Teixeira.
It became a rout at 7-1 when the inspired Matsui smashed JA Happ, pitching in place of the off-form Martinez, for a double off the right wall and Teixeira and Rodriguez both scored.
The Phillies responded in the sixth, as Ryan Howard homered to left field and Chase Utley also scored. Utley, with a record-equalling five homers in the series, was one of several men Philadelphia who needed to start performing.
Last year's champions needed a miracle heading to the ninth inning, as the prospect of a seventh game in the series faded.
But the Phillies had nothing left, and when Shane Victorino was third man out the Yankees were celebrating.
Rodriguez, winning his first World Series, said: "I couldn't be more proud of these guys."
Earlier in the year, Rodriguez admitted he had used banned substances during his time with the Texas Rangers, between 2001 and 2003.
He paid tribute to the backing he has received from the Yankees.
Rodriguez said: "When a lot of people were running the other way, my team-mates, coaches and the organisation stood right next to me and now we're standing here as world champions. Thank you."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi added: "This team never stop fighting, and they got up and they got up.
"It's unbelievable how this came together at spring training, and their willingness to be unselfish and play the game in the right way, and that's why we won."
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