In the bottom of the third, Russell Martin connected with the Yankees first hit of the season. Gardner then put down a bunt, moving Martin to second while the throw to first just beat the Bombers’ speedy outfielder. Derek Jeter worked a walk and Martin stole third, putting runners on first and third for Mark Teixeira. Teixeira then drove a deep fly ball into the right field stands giving the Yankees a 3-1 lead.
The Tigers battled back in the top of the fourth. Cabrera walked and Rayburn hit a one out single, putting runners on first and second. A two out single to left by Brandon Inge put the score at 3-2, but CC came back and struck out Alex Avila to end the inning. Sabathia struggled again in the fifth, giving up a single to Jackson. Will Rhymes hit a sac bunt, but Cano mishandled the throw from Teixeira and the Tigers had two on with no outs. A sac fly by Cabrera tied the game at 3-3.
Former Yankee reliever Phil Coke took the mound for the Tigers in the bottom of the seventh, after seeing Joba Chamberlain sit down Detroit in order. Curtis Granderson then drove a solo shot over the wall in right, giving the Yankees a 4-3 lead. Martin found himself on first thanks to an error by the Tigers and he moved over to second on another bunt by Gardner. A wild pitch by Detroit hurler Ryan Perry allowed Martin to get to third and Jeter drove a sac fly to center, putting the Yankees up 5-3. The Yankees picked up another run in the eighth, thanks to a walk to Rodriguez and a single by Swisher (whose baserunning afterwards was suspect). With Mariano Rivera on the mound in the top of the ninth, the Tigers went down in order and the Yankees picked up the 6-3 win.
Some Interesting Tidbits For Opening Day:
- Curtis Granderson has three straight Opening Days with a homer.
- Alex Rodriguez has hit in eight straight Opening Day appearances. This does not include 2009 when he began the season on the DL.
- In MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL history there have never been three teammates to play seventeen straight seasons together – until now, as Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada set that record (and the more I think about this the older I feel).
- The Yankees set a major league record, winning 11 straight games at home on Opening Day.
Brett Gardner: I thought Gardy looked a little lost in the outfield today, which may or may not have been his fault. He went 0-2 with two strikeouts. Gardner bunted twice, and while I will leave the decisions to bunt up for debate – it was nice to see him actually get some bunts down, a part of his game that has been sorely lacking for someone with his speed.
Jorge Posada: Jorge entered his new era as DH with a tough outing. He went 0-4 with a strikeout, while leaving two runner on base.
Robinson Cano: Robbie went 0-3 with a walk, two strikeouts and three left on base. He also picked up an error when he couldn’t hold onto a throw from Teixeira at first.
Curtis Granderson: Grandy was questionable for today’s game until yesterday afternoon, and did he give Yankees fans a lot to be happy about on Thursday! A diving catch in the first inning was just the start for Granderson who made some great defensive plays (seriously, he was all over center field today) but also contributed on offense. Granderson went 1-3 with a solo homer that gave the Yankees the final lead of the game.
Russell Martin: The Yankees new backstop made quite an impression in his first game in Pinstripes. He caught a good game, got on base and showed some speed. He went 1-3, scored two runs and stole a base.
Mark Teixeira: Teixeira gave New York its first lead, driving a big three-run homer into right. He was 1-3 with a run scored, three RBIs and a walk.
Bullpen: The Yankees may have the best bullpen in the majors and they showed it today. Joba, Raphael Soriano and Mo combined to give the Yankees three perfect innings, as each picked up a strikeout in the process.
In The On Deck Circle:
The Yankees and Tigers will take Friday off, before returning to Yankee Stadium for a game Saturday. Brad Penny will take the ball for Detroit. Penny actually had a strong start to his 2010 season, going 3-1 with a 1.56 ERA in April, before an oblique injury ended his season in May. A.J. Burnett, who has been battling a cold, is still slated to start on Saturday. Burnett’s disappointing 2010 has been well documented, but he put together a strong spring training. In fact, Burnett didn’t walk a single batter in his thirteen innings in Florida. First pitch is at 4:10pm on Saturday in the Bronx.