Yanks sweep; Torre earns 1,000th win
Matsui hits three-run homer, scores two runs against Texas
ARLINGTON -- When Joe Torre was hired to manage the Yankees on Nov. 2, 1995, the New York Daily News shouted "CLUELESS JOE" across the back page.
Four World Series titles and 1,000 wins later, Torre is still going strong.
Torre captured that milestone victory on Sunday, as his Yankees finished off a three-game sweep of the Rangers at Ameriquest Field in Arlington. New York's 8-5 win was its fifth in a row, sending the Bombers home to the Bronx on a winning note.
Torre joins Joe McCarthy (1,460), Casey Stengel (1,149) and Miller Huggins (1,067) as the only managers in franchise history to reach that milestone.
"A thousand wins as Yankee manager is pretty incredible when you consider the company you're in," Torre said. "That's a lot of wins, especially when you sign a two-year contract back in 1996. The Yankees' history book is a special place to be."
"I'm very proud of Joe," said George Steinbrenner through his spokesman, Howard Rubenstein. "He's making the right managerial moves. He knows how to lead, and he's providing great leadership."
Win No. 1,000 came with the help of Hideki Matsui, Chien-Ming Wang and Scott Proctor, each of whom made major contributions.
Matsui belted a three-run home run to kick off a five-run fourth inning, while Wang allowed three runs over six solid innings. Proctor may have given the Yankees the biggest lift, escaping a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the seventh as Texas tried to creep back into the game.
"That three-run homer seemed to take the air out of them a little bit, and we kept coming at them," Torre said. "We wouldn't be sitting here now if not for the job that Proctor did in the seventh."
Bernie Williams, who, along with Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, has been with Torre for his entire tenure in New York, also drove in three runs in the win.
"It's remarkable," Williams said. "He's right up there with the greatest managers this organization has had. It's well deserved."
"It's a huge milestone for him," Jeter said. "He's one of the best managers in the game and players love playing for him. He deserves it."
After losing the first game of the road trip to the Red Sox, the Yankees rattled off five consecutive victories, heading home with an 18-11 record and a share of first place in the American League East. New York and Boston open a three-game series in the Bronx on Tuesday.
With the score tied at 1 after three innings, the Yankees scored five runs in the fourth against starter Robinson Tejeda. Matsui's three-run blast, his sixth, highlighted the inning, which also included a two-run single by Kelly Stinnett.
"I was able to have better timing today," said Matsui through his interpreter. "My balance was probably a little off, but today [I] felt better at the plate."
New York led, 8-3, at the seventh-inning stretch, as Tanyon Sturtze took over for Wang. Sturtze walked Brad Wilkerson to start the inning, then made an error on a Mark DeRosa ground ball, making a bad throw while trying to get the out at second.
"I wanted to wring his neck," Torre said. "You have to keep in mind the score, and he looked like he was trying to get rid of the ball to get a double play. We just need one out there. He dug himself a hole."
With two men on and no outs, Sturtze walked Gerald Laird, loading the bases, prompting Torre to bring in Proctor.
Proctor got out of the bases-loaded jam with only one run scoring, inducing ground balls by Gary Matthews Jr. and Michael Young before striking out Mark Teixeira to end the inning.
"To be able to pick up Tanyon, when he's picked me up at times, was a great thing," Proctor said. "To know that Joe has the confidence in me is a huge positive."
Kyle Farnsworth pitched a scoreless eighth, while Mariano Rivera allowed a run in the ninth. Rivera got Teixeira to ground out to end the game, at which time Stinnett presented his manager with the game ball to commemorate his achievement.
"It's amazing what he has accomplished," Rivera said. "All of them are special.
"When I took over here, I thanked George Steinbrenner for the opportunity, but I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I'd be here this long," Torre said. "I've certainly appreciated the opportunity to manage the type of players that George puts on the field for me.
"I thought I was going to wait until I finished doing this stuff to look back and admire what's gone on here," he added. "When you get to 1,000, that got my attention."
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.