Another Perfect Home Opener for the Yankees
Added by Rich Mancuso on April 13, 2012.
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 relaxed.”
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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