Matsui stroked a one-out, bases-loaded single to left field in the bottom of the ninth inning to lead the Yankees to their fifth straight win, a 5-4 victory over the error-prone
Nicknamed "Godzilla" and a three-time home run champion in Japan's Central League, Matsui exhibited his power with a grand slam Tuesday in the Yankees' home opener. But the 28-year-old rookie also has shown plate discipline similar to former Yankee
with an ability to spray the ball to all fields.
The lefthanded-hitting Matsui lined an opposite field two-run double in New York's 2-0 win over Minnesota on Thursday and nearly duplicated that swing with his game-winning hit Saturday, waiting for and lining an 0-1 pitch on the outside corner into the hole between third and shortstop.
"I was just looking for a pitch to hit in the strike zone where I can put the ball into a hole and that's what I did," Matsui said through an interpreter.
"I don't see him (Matsui) as a home run hitter," Yankees manager
said. "He is a hits-type hitter. He uses the whole field, which makes him really tough to pitch to."
had rallied from a 4-0 deficit to tie the game but gave the Yankees an unearned run in the ninth.
That set the stage for Matsui, who was 0-for-4 and had grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the seventh after Williams was intentionally walked.
"I put the team in a bad spot," added Matsui. "I was relieved to get that hit at the end. Maybe if I didn't get that hit, I wouldn't have come back alive."
"We're certainly putting him in a lot of dramatic spots," said Zeile, who hit a two-run homer in the second inning. "The true sign of a professional is how he adjusts. Give him credit. He tried to do too much and hit into a double play with the bases loaded, but didn't let the same thing happen again."
(1-1) pitched a hitless ninth to get the win on his 30th birthday.
The Yankees are off to a 9-1 start for the first time since 1988.
New York jumped on Tampa Bay's
for four runs in the second.
, who went 4-for-4, drove in two runs with the first of his three doubles, and Zeile's homer capped the inning.
went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI, raising his average to .400. He has hit safely in all 11 games.
"I really have to give their young guys (Carl) Crawford and Baldelli a lot of credit," Torre said. "They battle you tough and they hit the ball both ways. They're very impressive."
Tampa Bay fought back against
, who was charged with four runs in 6 2/3 innings.
Baldelli led off the fourth with a double and advanced to third when
hit a liner off Weaver's back for a single. Weaver remained in the game after being checked by the trainer and yielded an RBI single to
and a sacrifice fly to
Baldelli added an RBI single in the fifth and doubled and scored the tying run in the seventh. Lefthander
relieved Weaver and surrendered a long drive to right-center by Huff which went off the glove of center fielder Williams for an RBI double.