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Yankee wins debut

Associated Press
Published June 20, 2004

LOS ANGELES - Hideki Matsui hit a three-run homer in his first at-bat against Hideo Nomo, and Brad Halsey won his major-league debut Saturday in the Yankees' 6-2 win against the Dodgers.

The second regular-season meeting between the division leaders attracted another sellout crowd of 54,876 on a cool, gloomy day that required the stadium lights to be on.

The largest crowd in Dodger Stadium history - 55,207 - saw the home team win 6-3 Friday night.

Halsey was called up Saturday from Triple-A Columbus, where manager and former Yankee Bucky Dent recommended him to Joe Torre.

The 23-year-old left-hander gave up two runs and five hits in 52/3 innings, struck out three and walked one before leaving to a standing ovation from Yankees fans.

"It was awesome, and it's pretty comforting also to know you have those guys behind you in the field because they're such tremendous players," Halsey said between sips of a postgame beer.

Halsey even got his first major-league hit with a single off Nomo in the second. Nomo (3-8) responded by hitting a home run against Halsey in the fifth.

"First win, first hit, doesn't shave yet," Yankees reliever Paul Quantrill said, laughing.

It was Halsey's first at-bat since he was a high school sophomore.

"They shut me down. They were like, "He can't swing it. Have him throw the ball,' " he said. "I saw the first fastball and I was like, "You know what, I think I can hit one of those.' "

The Dodgers threatened in the seventh. Tom Gordon relieved Quantrill with runners at the corners and retired Milton Bradley to preserve a 4-2 lead. Gordon retired the side in order in the eighth, and Mariano Rivera worked a scoreless ninth.

Alex Rodriguez, who reached base safely in 53 consecutive games until Friday, had a run-scoring single in the eighth to give New York a 5-2 lead.

After a two-out intentional walk to former Dodger Gary Sheffield, second baseman Jose Hernandez fielded a ball hit by Matsui cleanly in the hole but threw wildly to first base for an error, allowing Rodriguez to score for a 6-3 lead.

Sheffield drove in New York's first run with a two-out single in the first after Nomo gave up consecutive walks to Rodriguez and Jason Giambi.

Matsui followed Sheffield's hit by pulling an 0-2 pitch just inside the right-field foul pole for his 12th homer, giving the Yankees a 4-0 lead.

It was the first time Matsui faced Nomo, though both starred for years in Japan.

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