Matsui went 3-for-5 and drove in two runs as New York won 7-2 on Saturday. He’s hit safely in 18 of his last 19 games, batting .405 (30-for-74) with two homers, 16 RBIs and 18 runs in that span. Overall, he’s hitting .308 with 23 homers and 90 RBIs.
“I guess you can say that, in terms of hitting, I feel pretty good right now,” Matsui told the Yankees’ official Web site through an interpreter. “That’s been holding, so to speak, probably contributing to the consistency. Physically, I feel pretty good, too.”
Matsui’s effort helped the Yankees (72-57) bounce back from a 9-6, 11-inning loss in the opener Friday. The draining game—delayed for more than four hours at the start by rain—ended at 3:30 a.m. EDT and several players said they did not get to sleep until 5 a.m.
Despite the win, New York remained 6 1/2 games behind AL East leader Boston, which beat the Chicago White Sox on Saturday. The Yankees, though, pulled within two games of AL wild-card leader Seattle, which lost at Texas.
New York goes into Sunday’s game with a rested bullpen after starter Chien-Ming Wang pitched eight solid innings on Saturday. The Yankees used six relievers in the opener, but none of them pitched in the second game.
“We went through a lot (Friday) night,” Yankees catcher Jorge Posada said. “We needed Wang to step up and do this for us.”
Detroit (69-60) fell 2 1/2 games behind Cleveland in the AL Central since the Indians won at Kansas City on Saturday. The Tigers have lost 16 of their last 24 games and haven’t won a series since July 17-19 when they swept a three-game set in Minnesota.
“Obviously, that wasn’t an ideal night of sleep, but it didn’t have anything to do with what happened in this game,” said Detroit’s Brandon Inge. “They just played better than we did.”
Although Detroit is struggling, Magglio Ordonez is not. The MVP candidate went 2-for-4 for his fourth straight multihit game, going 10-for-18 in than span. He’s hitting a major league leading .358 this season.
Hughes had control problems on Monday in his return to his native Southern California as he gave up five runs, four hits and five walks over 6 1-3 innings in a 7-6, 10-inning loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
The right-hander had been 2-0 with a 0.73 ERA in his first two road starts. He’s facing Detroit for the first time and is making just his seventh career start.
Jurrjens, meanwhile, is taking the mound for only the third time in the majors. He enters after an impressive outing Tuesday against Cleveland, as he outdueled 14-game winner Fausto Carmona by yielding one run and one hit in a 2-1 victory.
“I’m going to remember this for the rest of my life,” Jurrjens said.
Both of Jurrjens’ first two starts came against the Indians. The right-hander went 7-5 with a 3.20 ERA in 19 starts this season with Double-A Erie before taking the injured Kenny Rogers’ spot in the rotation.