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Matsui powers Yankees to World Series title

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Yankees beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-3 to win the World Series on Wednesday, the Bronx Bombers ending a nine-year wait for a 27th title with a 4-2 series victory over the defending champions.

Hideki Matsui was named Most Valuable Player after batting .615 with three home runs and eight RBIs over the series, the Japanese slugger driving in six runs in Wednesday’s clincher to tie the World Series record for most RBIs in one game.

Matsui’s virtuoso performance matched the mark set by Yankee second baseman Bobby Richardson in 1960.

In becoming the first Japanese player to win World Series MVP honors, Matsui belted a two-run homer, and hit a two-run double and two-run single to lead New York to the championship in their first season at the new Yankee Stadium.

Andy Pettitte, pitching on three days’ rest, registered the win for his second victory of the series, extending his major league record for career postseason wins to 18.

When closer Mariano Rivera got Shane Victorino to ground to second for the final out, the Yankees poured into the middle of the diamond for a group hug and circled the outfield holding championship banners aloft to salute the crowd of more than 50,000.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig presented the championship trophy. “This is their 27th World Series championship, the most in American sports. Congratulations to the New York Yankees,” he said.

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The crowd roared in approval when Selig announced Matsui as MVP of the series.

“It’s awesome,” Matsui said through an interpreter after receiving the MVP trophy. “It’s just unbelievable. I’m surprised myself.

“All I can say right now is I feel great.”

TOWERING HOMER

Matsui put the Yankees in front 2-0 in the second inning with a towering two-run homer into the second deck in right field beyond the Komatsu sign, taken out by the Japanese manufacturer of construction and mining machinery.

The designated hitter made it 4-1 in the third with a two-run single with the bases loaded off starter and loser Pedro Martinez.

Slideshow ( 34 images )

Matsui capped off his extraordinary night with a long double to right-center for two more runs in the fifth that gave New York a cushion protected by relievers Joba Chamberlain, Damaso Marte and Rivera, who registered the last five outs.

The Phils, who managed just six hits, scored in the third when catcher Carlos Ruiz belted a triple to left-center and came home on a sacrifice fly by Jimmy Rollins to make it 2-1.

Ryan Howard’s two-run homer in the sixth off Pettitte made it 7-3 but New York’s bullpen shut them down.

Slideshow ( 34 images )

“We’re gonna enjoy it and we’re going to party!” third baseman Alex Rodriguez told an on-field interviewer.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi complimented the Phillies.

“They’re an extremely tough opponent.” he said.

“They won the World Series last year and we were fortunate enough to win it this year. But it’s a great ballclub with a lot of heart.”

Pettitte, along with captain Derek Jeter, catcher Jorge Posada and Rivera were members of four World Series winning teams with the Yankees from 1996 to 2000, was ecstatic about adding another championship ring in the new stadium.

“This is what I came back for. I wanted to play in this new ballpark,” the 37-year-old Pettitte said.

“I got one for the thumb and that’s awesome.”

Editing by John O’Brien

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