If this truly was Hideki Matsui's last game in pinstripes, he picked one hell of a way to go out.
Contributing 6 RBIs to the 7-3 win in Game 6 of the World Series on Wednesday, what was possibly Matsui's last great Yankees performance was easily the most historic. He put the team on his back (despite his bulky knees) and the man who descended upon New York in 2003 — deemed Godzillla because of his vaunted power in Japan — lived up to his monstrous nickname, slugging the Yankees to their 27th World Series championship and in the process winning the World Series MVP Award (.615 avg/3 HR/8 RBI).
Going into the game, the marquee matchup was billed as between the two veteran starters, Andy Pettitte and Pedro Martinez. While they had never faced each other in postseason play, the two relics of the Yankee/Red Sox battles of the near-past symbolized, in the minds of many, a final completion of a long raging war whose flames still faintly flickered in the hearts of these men. With Pettitte back home on the only team to which he truly ever belonged, and Pedro reinventing himself out of nowhere and grabbing a rotation spot on the defending World Series champions for the stretch run and in their subsequent playoff appearance, the stage was set for one final showdown between the two weathered gunslingers.
But the reality of Pedro's degeneration was apparent quickly. Hideki Matsui — attacking with his bat like a Yakuza assassin with his sword — almost singlehandedly put an early and excessively brutal end to Martinez's start and quite possibly his career. In the bottom of the seconnd, Matsui landed the first striking blow — beginning his colossal disruption of what initially looked like a good outing by Martinez — smashing a two-run homer to right field that scored Alex Rodriguez to put the Yankees up 2-0.
Then in the third inning it was another Godzilla attack, this time with a two-run single to center, scoring table-setters Jeter and Damon. Matsui's second clutch hit with RISP put the Yankees up 4-1 and signaled that the route was offically on. After four innings Pedro surrendered four runs on three hits and was done in the ball game after what might be the last 77 pitches his historically incredible right arm will ever throw at the Major League level.