“I’m not going to pinch-hit for him,” Torre said.
So with heavy clouds hovering over Yankee Stadium on Sunday, the lefty-swinging Matsui stepped in to face the sidewinding Shouse with two outs in the fifth inning. Texas was sitting on a 3-2 lead, one out from an official game and perhaps a rain-shortened victory.
No such luck for the Rangers.
Matsui beat the rainstorm with a three-run homer that gave New York the lead, and the Yankees went on to a 10-3 victory that was interrupted twice by rain. Alex Rodriguez added his fifth homer in eight days as the Yankees completed a four-game sweep and stretched the Rangers’ losing streak to seven games.
Matsui’s homer was the turning point.
“That was so important for us,” Torre said. “It was a complete 180-degree turn. They had just taken the lead and he got it right back for us.
“He’s so good in his preparation. He’s so darned determined.”
Shouse got two strikes on sliders and then tried one more.
“The third one was high in the strike zone,” Matsui said through a translator. “I have my strategy against left-handers.”
Shouse knew he let Texas down.
“You come in and you’re supposed to do your job and get the lefty out,” he said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t happen today.”
Texas manager Buck Showalter said, “Brian had done a great job against him. Not many left-handers have.”
Shaken by the Matsui homer, Shouse walked Jason Giambi. Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams followed with singles, making it 6-3. Posada scored on a wild pitch in a driving rain and play was suspended for the first time.
The game resumed after a delay of 1 hour, 6 minutes.
In the sixth, Derek Jeter walked and Rodriguez hit his 35th home run, upping the lead to 9-3.
“I’m not trying to hit homers,” Rodriguez said. “I’m trying to hit to all parts of the field, left-center to right-center.”
It’s paid off with a long ball surge.
“That two-run homer probably put it out of reach,” Torre said.
An inning later, rain again halted play for 26 minutes.
Shawn Chacon (1-1), one of the emergency starters the Yankees have added to a patchwork pitching staff, earned the victory, allowing three runs and seven hits in five innings. It was his fourth start as a Yankee and it ended a personal eight-game losing streak that began when he was with Colorado. He had not won in his previous 12 starts dating to April 23 when he beat the Los Angeles Dodgers for the Rockies.
The Yankees scored an unearned run in the first inning after Rangers left fielder David Dellucci dropped Robinson Cano’s long fly ball for a two-base error. After Cano moved to third on a fly ball, Rodriguez delivered an RBI single to right.
Giambi opened the second with a walk and went to third on Posada’s double into the right-field corner. Williams singled for one run but Benoit retired the next three hitters, leaving two runners on base.
In the fifth, Matthews doubled again and came home on Barajas’ 11th home run.
The gametime temperature was 94 degrees. … The crowd of 54,824 pushed the Yankees’ attendance past 3 million for the seventh consecutive season. It was the team’s 22nd consecutive sellout and 33rd this year in 61 home games. … Benoit threw 104 pitches in 4 2-3 innings. … Giambi walked three times. Posada, Rodriguez and Williams each had three hits.