Yanks win last opener at storied park
NEW YORK ó Last opener at the old place, first win for Joe Girardi.
Just how the Babe would have wanted it.
Chien-Ming Wang shut down the Toronto Blue Jays for seven innings, making Girardi a winner in his rain-delayed debut as Yankees manager and sending New York to a record-setting 3-2 victory Tuesday night.
iIt was a big night,î Jason Giambi said. iThis one is huge.î
Back in 1923, Babe Ruth homered in front of 74,200 fans on the day Yankee Stadium opened. This time, it was Melky Cabreraís shot that tied it for New York. And the 84th opener at this storied ballpark ended like so many that came before ó with a victory by the home team.
After wet weather postponed the festivities Monday, Wang and the Yankees beat Roy Halladay (0-1) to win their major league-best 11th consecutive home opener. That snapped a tie with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who won 10 in a row from 1945-54, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
With owner George Steinbrenner and his son, Hank, a Yankees general partner, watching from their suite above home plate, Cabrera also made two outstanding catches in center field.
Alex Rodriguez scored on Hideki Matsuiís grounder in the seventh, breaking a 2-all tie.
iIt was a good, clean game. The difference was their defense,î Toronto manager John Gibbons said.
Joba Chamberlain struck out two in a hitless eighth to the delight of his polio-stricken father, Harlan, who attended the game and cheered from his motorized scooter.
Mariano Rivera worked a perfect ninth for the save and handed Girardi the souvenir ball from the final out as the sellout crowd of 55,112 roared.
iHe just congratulated me and he said thatís No. 1 and letís get a lot more,î Girardi said. iItís a neat moment for me.î
Girardi took over this season from his popular mentor, Joe Torre, who guided the Yankees to playoff appearances in all 12 years at the helm.
iI know he really wanted to win this game,î Derek Jeter said. iIím happy for him.î
Set to move next year into a new $1.3 billion ballpark thatís under construction next door, New York improved to 58-26 in Yankee Stadium openers. The club has won 16 of its past 17, and 22 of 25.
Angels 9, Twins 1
MINNEAPOLIS ó Vladimir Guerrero and Garret Anderson combined for six hits and five RBIs, and Jon Garland breezed through his first start for Los Angeles.
Torii Hunter had another 0-for-4 night for the Angels against his old team, reaching base only when a ninth-inning pitch from Juan Rincon banged off his elbow.
Los Angeles had three hard-hit doubles in the first seven at-bats against Boof Bonser (0-1). Guerrero and Anderson went back-to-back with theirs for a 2-0 lead in the first. Mike Napoli and Casey Kotchman each hit solo homers, Guerrero went 3-for-4 with a walk and three RBIs, and Anderson went 3-for-5 and drove in two.
Rangers 5, Mariners 4
SEATTLE ó Josh Hamilton hit a two-run homer in the ninth off All-Star closer J.J. Putz on Tuesday night.
Putz (0-1) dropped his head after Hamilton connected on his first-pitch, 93 mph fastball with one out. Putz blew his first save in his second game of the season.
He didnít blow his first last season until July 25 ó at Texas.
Red Sox 2, Athletics 1
OAKLAND, Calif. ó Daisuke Matsuzaka did stateside what he couldnít in front of his Japanese countrymen last week.
Dice-K struck out nine and didnít walk a batter Tuesday night, allowing two hits and one run over 62/3 innings as the Boston Red Sox spoiled Oaklandís home opener.