Broken wrist likely sidelines Matsui for three months

NEW YORK (AP) -- Mark Loretta's first hit sent Hideki Matsui to a
hospital with a broken left wrist. His fourth turned into a
go-ahead, two-run infield single that led the Boston Red Sox to a
5-3 victory over the New York Yankees on Thursday night.

"Due to this injury, I feel very sorry and, at the same time, very disappointed to have let my teammates down," Matsui said in a statement. "I will do my best to fully recover and return to the field to help my team once again. I would like to thank Joe Torre from the bottom of my heart for having been considerate of my consecutive games played streak these past several years and for placing me in the lineup every day."

Loretta hit a ground ball to the shortstop hole with runners on
second and third, and the Red Sox trailing 3-2 in the seventh
inning. Derek Jeter went to the ground and threw from his knees to

His throw was high and on the home-plate side of the bag, and
the ball popped out of Miguel Cairo's glove as he jumped and tagged
Loretta, allowing two runs to score.

"We got a break there after not getting too many breaks early
in the game," Loretta said.

Boston, which stranded 15 runners, was 1-for-13 with runners in
scoring position before that hit.

Bubba Crosby, who moved from right to left when Matsui got hurt,
leaped at the wall with his glove extended over the top of the
fence to rob Mike Lowell of a two-run homer and end the third.

Then, after Wily Mo Pena doubled leading off the fourth, Johnny
Damon jumped to snare a drive by former Boston teammate Doug
Mirabelli near the top of the center-field wall, a ball that likely
would have been a few inches shy of a homer and gone for a
run-scoring extra-base hit.

"A couple of balls left the ballpark but didn't leave the
players," Boston manager Terry Francona said.

Boston took two of three in the series, opened a one-game AL
East lead and has won three of four against New York this year.

Loretta, Boston's No. 2 hitter, sent a blooper into left field
in the first inning, and Matsui landed hard on his wrist in an
unsuccessful bid to make a diving catch. He immediately left, was
put in an ambulance while still in uniform and had surgery

Matsui had played in 518 consecutive games since joining the
Yankees in 2003 after playing in 1,250 straight for the Yomirui
Giants from 1994-2002.

Torre estimated Matsui will be sidelined
about three months. After looking at Matsui's swollen wrist, Damon
said it's possible Matsui might not play again until next season.

"He's like the Rock of Gibraltar," Torre said. "You don't
even think about anything that's going to keep him down."

New York was already missing a starting outfielder: Right
fielder Gary Sheffield hurt his left wrist in a collision at first
base on April 29 and went on the disabled list this week. He can't
come off the DL until May 21, and Yankees general manager Brian
Cashman said Sheffield might go to Tampa, Fla., for rehabilitation.

Because Matsui did not play a full half inning, his consecutive
games streak ended when the game became official. Baseball rule
10.24 (c) states: "A consecutive game playing streak shall be
extended if the player plays one half inning on defense, or if he
completes a time at bat by reaching base or being put out."

Bernie Williams, who took over from Crosby in right, cost the
Yankees in the seventh after Mirabelli singled with one out. No. 9
hitter Alex Gonzalez lofted a ball into the right-field corner
against Ron Villone (0-1). Williams overran it, and the ball
dropped just fair for a double that put runners on second and

"I was getting ready to climb up that wall, and as I was
getting ready to do that, the wind blew it back," Williams said.
"It was very unfortunate. It turned out to be a big play. I wish I
could have up with it, but I couldn't."

Kyle Farnsworth relieved and retired Kevin Youkilis on a liner
for the second out, and with a light rain starting to fall, Loretta
hit the key grounder.

"You have no time to set," Jeter said. "You wish someone else
hit it who was a little slower, but that wasn't the way it was."

Cairo thought he had a chance to get the out, but Loretta
knocked it loose.

"The ball slipped out of my glove when he hit it," he said.

Tim Wakefield (3-4) struck out nine, allowing three runs and six
hits. Jorge Posada hit a two-run single through the knuckleballer's
legs in the first inning, and Jeter had an RBI single in the

"The ball was moving so much in the first inning, I couldn't
get it in the strike zone," he said.

With Jeter on second and one out in the seventh, Mike Timlin
struck out Jason Giambi and Alex Rodriguez. Williams doubled
against Keith Foulke leading off the eighth but was stranded at
third when Cairo fouled off four two-strike pitches against
Jonathan Papelbon, then struck out.

Youkilis added an RBI single in the ninth off Mariano Rivera,
and Papelbon finished for his 13th save in 13 chances. He retired
Giambi on a popup with a runner on to end it after 3 hours, 59

"Dreams are made of these games," Papelbon said.

Game notes
A smoking object appeared to land on the field in the
middle of the seventh. ... Shawn Chacon lasted just 4 2/3 innings
and walked five, throwing 52 of 104 pitches for strikes. But he
gave up only one run, on David Ortiz's run-scoring grounder in the
third. "He was all over the place. He just had no feel for the
strike zone, basically," Torre said. "It was only because of his
guttiness that he lasted that long."