"You start thinking about how this guy might be going through something special here," Williams said.
Matsui's first-inning double drove in New York's first-run, and his three-run double in the third signaled Schilling was struggling. Matsui added a run-scoring single in the seventh off Tim Wakefield, who also allowed a solo homer to Kenny Lofton. It was Wakefield who gave up the 11th-inning homer to Aaron Boone that ended the epic Game 7 last year.
Right from the start, Schilling didn't look like the pitcher who led the major leagues with 21 wins, one who had been 6-0 in nine postseason starts since 1993, never allowing more than two earned runs. He said Monday he planned to have his right ankle injected with a painkiller before the start, and he had trouble hitting the targets set by Varitek, his catcher.
Sheffield reached out and pulled a letter-high pitch down the left-field line for a double with two outs in the first. Matsui fell behind 0-2, then got his right elbow up and the bat head down to slap an opposite-field double into left-center and drive in the first run. Williams then hit the next pitch up the middle for a 2-0 lead.
Schilling retired the bottom of the order in the second inning, then gave up four more runs in the third.
Jeter singled leading off, Alex Rodriguez reached on an infield hit to deep shortstop and Gary Sheffield walked -- one pitch after driving a pitch about 5 feet foul to deep left. Matsui lined the next pitch off the right-field wall to clear the bases. Sheffield was so pumped up after he slid across the plate that he smacked Rodriguez's back so hard that A-Rod's helmet was knocked off.
"It's nice to tie a record like that, but there's nothing like winning," Matsui said through a translator after he tied an AL championship series record by driving in five runs.
Matsui hit an RBI double in the first inning and a three-run double off the right-field wall in the third against Red Sox starter Curt Schilling, and added an RBI single in the sixth to make it 8-0.
Matsui, 3-for-5, had a chance to set the record in the eighth inning with the Yankees leading 8-7 and runners on first and second, but popped up behind second base.
"He gets into a situation where there's men in scoring position and he has knowledge of the pitcher, he just has a feel on what pitch he wants to hit," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.
It was the sixth time a player has driven in five runs in an ALCS game, and the first since Adam Kennedy accomplished the feat for Anaheim in 2002. Paul Blair, Don Baylor, John Valentin and Bret Boone also drove in five runs.
Matsui, a skilled left fielder, was unable to make a difficult leaping catch against the wall in left-center on David Ortiz's drive in the eighth, allowing two runs to score and pulling Boston to 8-7.
"When the ball was hit, the ball actually started coming back to left field, so I actually overran it and, as a result, it hit off the heel of my glove," Matsui said.
Matsui, who hit .412 in the first round against the Twins, is being relied on even more in these playoffs, batting cleanup with an ailing Jason Giambi not on the postseason roster.
"He's really locked in," Yankees first baseman John Olerud said.
Matsui, dubbed Godzilla in Japan, is a huge star back home, with his image everywhere, including the side of JAL jetliners.