Series: Game 4 of 4

Series tied 2-2 (as of 9/25)

Game 1: Friday, September 22
NY Yankees4Final
Tampa Bay1
Game 2: Saturday, September 23
NY Yankees0Final
Tampa Bay8
Game 3: Sunday, September 24
NY Yankees4Final
Tampa Bay11
Game 4: Monday, September 25
NY Yankees16Final
Tampa Bay1

Yankees 16

(94-62, 47-34 away)

Devil Rays 1

(60-96, 41-40 home)

    7:15 PM ET, September 25, 2006

    Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida 

    123456789 R H E
    NYY 621003013 16 20 0
    TB 000001000 1 8 1

    W: J. Wright (11-7)

    L: J. Seo (3-11)

    Three-run blasts in first by Abreu, Matsui stake Yanks in rout

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- The New York Yankees' big night at the plate was overshadowed by postgame news about Randy Johnson's back.

    Manager Joe Torre announced after the 16-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Monday night that Johnson will miss his final regular season start because of back spasms.

    "My back is locked up right now," Johnson said. "Get it taken care of and get ready for the postseason game. Getting the treatment and doing things accordingly. It's the best thing to do. Maybe the time off will help. That's what I chose to do. Joe was in agreement with that."

    Elias Says
    Hideki Matsui
    Hideki Matsui ended a 14-pitch at-bat with a home run off Jae Seo on Monday. It was the most pitches in an at-bat that ended with a home run in over two years, since Terrmel Sledge went deep on the 16th pitch of an at-bat against Antonio Alfonseca.

    • For more Elias Says, click here

    Johnson (17-11) had been scheduled to pitch Thursday night against Baltimore. Mike Mussina will move up one day to make that start.

    "He's not going to start again until the playoffs," Torre said of Johnson. "He's experienced some back problems. He's been pitching with it. It was decided, Randy included obviously in the decision, to shut him down. He's still going to work toward that playoff start."

    The injury likely means that Chien-Ming Wang will start the Yankees' AL divisional series opener. Mussina could get the call for Game 2, with Johnson possibly going in Game 3.

    The Yankees' night had been great before the news about Johnson. Bobby Abreu and Hideki Matsui hit three-run homers in a wild six-run first inning to start the offensive onslaught that included a season-high 20 hits.

    Abreu and Matsui homered off Jae Seo (1-7) during the 26-minute half inning that also saw Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon and pitching coach Mike Butcher ejected.

    Jaret Wright (11-7), bidding to be the Yankees' fourth starter in the postseason, gave up one run, five hits, four walks and struck out four in six innings. He is 7-1 all-time against Tampa Bay.

    Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who pitched for the first time Friday since being sidelined since Aug. 31 with a strained right forearm, allowed an infield hit and had a strikeout in a scoreless seventh.

    "He looked smooth," Torre said of Rivera. "He was good. He just needs a little more work."

    New York had lost three of four since clinching its ninth straight AL East title on Wednesday. The Yankees (94-62) are tied with the Detroit Tigers for the best record in the AL.

    "We just seemed to have more life tonight," Torre said.

    Abreu went 4-for-4, including a run-scoring single in the second. He had a career-high seven RBI when the Yankees beat Tampa Bay 12-4 on Sept. 12.

    Matsui went 3-for-4 and had four RBI. Miguel Cairo drove in three runs with a double with the bases loaded in the ninth.

    Seo, 0-2 over his last nine starts, threw 46 pitches in the first. He allowed eight runs and seven hits in 1 2/3 innings.

    "I had problems with my location," Seo said. "What I think is a strike, the umpire thinks it's a ball. After that, I lost my concentration."

    Butcher was thrown out by plate umpire Alfonso Marquez for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout. After being ejected, Butcher ran toward home plate to continue arguing. He appeared to make contact with third base umpire Larry Young, who tried to get between the coach and Marquez.

    "Probably, during the course of the argument," Young said with a shrug when asked about the contact. "We're going to make a report to the [commissioner's] office."

    "I didn't grab anybody," Butcher said. "We'll see what happens."

    Maddon left the dugout to argue and was thrown out by Marquez. Butcher, who had returned to the dugout, went back on the field and had to be restrained by bullpen coach Bobby Ramos.

    "I was seeking an explanation, and it got a little out of control," Maddon said. "It was just one of those moments."

    Robinson Cano had an RBI-single in a two-run second to make it 8-0. Johnny Damon hit his 23rd homer in the third off Brian Meadows to give the Yankees' a nine-run lead.

    New York went up 12-0 in the sixth when Alex Rodriguez hit an RBI-double, Gary Sheffield had a run-scoring infield single and Matsui drove in a run with a single.

    Ty Wigginton homered in the sixth for Tampa Bay, his team-leading 24th.

    New York's Andy Cannizaro hit his first major league homer in the eighth.

    Game notes

    Rodriguez stopped an 0-for-13 slide with a fourth-inning single. ... New York 1B Jason Giambi (left wrist) remains scheduled to hit off a tee Tuesday. He might play Wednesday. ... Mussina, hit on the base of the left thumb by a line drive Sunday, reported no problems. ... Matsui is scheduled to play in the field Tuesday. He has been the DH 12 times since returning from a left wrist injury.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press