Friday, April 13, 2012
Another Perfect Home Opener for the Yankees
Nick Swisher got a good pitch to hit in the first inning, a double to deep center
that scored Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. That opened the door for another perfect Opening Day in the Bronx at Yankee Stadium Friday afternoon.
Even more perfect because Jorge Posada returned to the Bronx, one of the “Core
Four” throwing the ceremonial Opening Day pitch to his father.
“The season does not start until after the home opener,” said Swisher after the
Yankees 5-0 shutout over the Los Angeles Angels, their 14th in their last 15th in the
Bronx. It was that type of day again at Yankee Stadium. Warm enough also for
the Yankees to entertain a sold out crowd with home runs from Alex Rodriguez
and Curtis Granderson.
The home run from Rodriquez, second of the season off Angeles starter and loser
Ervin Santana, was the 630th of his career which tied him with Ken Griffey Jr.
on baseball’s all-time list. He was moved from the clean-up spot to third in the
batting order after failing to drive in a run in the first six games and the home run
was his first.
Hiroki Kuroda (1-1) who struggled in his first start down in Tampa Bay last
Saturday, allowing six runs, four earned gave up five hits, struck out six, walked
two and did not allow a runner to reach second until the fifth inning. The former
Dodger had good command with his splitter in eight innings.
When he left the mound he received a standing ovation from the 49,386 Opening
Day fans. “It was the greatest feeling in the world and I would like to repeat
that,” he said. “When you have that type of run support I was able to be more
It was that type of Opening Day in the Bronx. The Yankees have a way of making
this day more special than any other team in baseball. The win made it extra
special with the home runs and good pitching to go with it. But the pitch from
Posada, who retired in January, made it more compelling. After the pitch, Posada
was hugged by his former teammates on the field.
At the team Welcome Home Dinner Thursday night in Manhattan, Posada was the highlight and what teammates described as the incentive to make this home opener extra special.
“It has to be something special for those two,” said Yankees Manager Joe Girardi
about Posada returning to the stadium and his father watching him throw the first
pitch at home plate. “He deserved that and it was great.”
But it was greater moment for Girardi to his starting pitcher rebound in his second
start. And Rodriquez finding the home run swing, a huge shot into the netting in
Monument Park, to straight center off the first pitch from Santana in the third
inning, was an impressive swing. He also singled in the first and later scored on
the Swisher bases clearing double.
“It puts a little sidebar on our season,” said Girardi about the milestone home run
from Rodriguez. And he said about Kuroda, “I don’t think it gets any better, you
get a quality start from your pitcher into the ninth inning.”
And it does not get any better when the Yankees win their home opener of the new season.
e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com
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