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YANKEES 9, CUBS 6

DH Matsui clobbers Cubs

Yankees rally to win 4th straight

NEW YORK -- Once Hideki Matsui got injured, he really started hurting -- opposing pitchers, that is.

Still in the designated hitter role because of a twisted right ankle, Matsui hit a go-ahead homer and drove in five runs as New York rallied late to keep the Chicago Cubs winless at Yankee Stadium with a 9-6 victory last night.

''All of a sudden, something bad happens, but something good comes from it," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

Matsui, an All-Star outfielder, tweaked himself last weekend in St. Louis while making a play. Determined to stay in the lineup, he's quickly adjusted to becoming a DH, connecting for three home runs in four games.

He's done so well that Torre and the Yankees have joked that he might stay in that role.

''I enjoy playing defense, but if he tells me to send my glove home, I'll do so," Matsui kidded through a translator.

Matsui homered, doubled, and singled in leading New York to its fourth straight win.

The Cubs fell to 0-5 in the ballpark, having been swept in the World Series in 1932 and 1938. They had not been back in the Bronx for 67 years.

''Matsui, this guy killed us all night long," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. ''This guy can hit. It doesn't seem to matter if you bring in a lefty or a righty."

Cheered on by Hall of Famer Ernie Banks and boosted by chants of ''Let's go, Cubbies!" that echoed in the sellout crowd of 54,773, Chicago overcame an early four-run deficit and took a 6-4 lead in the sixth inning.

After Gary Sheffield's shot into the stands was reversed by umpires and called a foul ball -- correctly -- in the first inning, Matsui put one into the seats that counted and capped a three-run rally in the seventh.

Matsui added a two-run double in the eighth. He also had an RBI single.

''Hideki is one of the most impressive players I've ever played with," teammate Alex Rodriguez said. ''He's just tenacious and has a knack for the big hit.'

Carlos Zambrano, the first Cubs pitcher to face a New York lineup at Yankee Stadium since Dizzy Dean, took a two-run lead into the seventh. But Sheffield doubled with one out and Rodriguez followed with an RBI single that finished Zambrano.

''I was feeling normal. I made a couple of mistakes," Zambrano said.

Matsui promptly lined a 2-and-0 pitch from lefthander Will Ohman (2-1) over the right-field wall for a 7-6 lead.

Mike Stanton (1-1) got two outs, and Mariano Rivera worked the ninth for his 15th save.

The Cubs began their comeback with two runs in the fourth off Carl Pavano. Chicago closed to 4-3 in the fifth when Corey Patterson doubled and Derrek Lee singled.

''We played a good game up until the seventh inning," Baker said.

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