The Japanese media – all 30 of them – gave Hideki Matsui a giant cake before the game with 34 spelled out in strawberries.
Matsui thanked his pals but declined a piece. He had bigger birthday plans in mind.
His slam in the sixth inning marked the third time he has homered on his birthday. The others were in 1996 and 1998 while he was playing in Japan.
â€œI donâ€™t remember that,â€ he said through his translator, Roger Kahlon. â€œWhen I was in Japan. I was probably pretty busy after the game on my birthday. Thatâ€™s what I remember.â€
The homer was all Andy Pettitte needed. He retired the final 12 batters he faced, fanning five of them. Check out these Pettitte facts and figures:
* He now has 170 wins as a Yankee, matching Ron Guidry. The Gator, of course, was a lefty from Louisiana. When Pettitte was drafted by the Yankees way back in 1990, his father called Guidry to ask his opinion about signing. The rest is history.
* Of Pettitte’s 207 wins, 52 have been saved by Mariano Rivera. The only starter-closer duo with more victories is Oaklandâ€™s Bob Welch and Dennis Eckersley, who combined for 55. Rivera, by the way, has saves in the last 10 road victories for the Yankees. He has not allowed a run in a save situation this season, 19 innings.