The Yankees held onto their fifth win of the season Tuesday in their home opener in front of a record-setting crowd. The Bombers took a 7-1 lead into the ninth inning after homers by Derek Jeter and Nick Johnson and 2-RBI games from Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.
The Yankees also collected their World Series Championship rings in a short ceremony before the game which each player being announced and jogging out from the dugout to join their teammates along the first baseline. After each player was introduced, former player Hideki Matsui was announced and he walked out from the Angels dugout. It was great watching Matsui as he waited to be announced – he looked so proud and as if it was difficult for him to hold in a big smile.
After Matsui ran out and collected the same ring box every Yankee player received, the entire team surrounded him at the pitchers mound and gave him a bear hug. In an interesting twist, Joe Girardi ran over to give Matsui something before the game and it turned out to be his World Series ring. Apparently the box that Matsui received did not have his real ring in it – Derek Jeter reportedly substituted the real ring with a fake one to play a joke on Matsui.
The same joke appeared to be played on Nick Swisher after Mariano Rivera was seen handing him a ring after the ceremony. Rivera said some words to Swisher and Swish seemed to acknowledge that a joke was played on him.
In the game, Andy Pettitte was more then sufficient on the mound, last 6 full innings, holding the normally powerful Angels lineup scoreless and limited to only 5 hits and 3 walks. He also struck out 6. Chan Ho Park allowed one run in two innings and in a relatively low-pressure ninth inning, David Robertson promptly loaded the bases and allowed Bobby Abreu to bring the score to 7-5 with a grand slam home run.
Skipper Joe Girardi then brought in Mariano Rivera to finish the game and pick up his 3rd save of the season.
The Yankees offense was sparked by solo home runs by Johnson and Jeter in the first and third innings and RBI singles by Jeter and Rodriguez in the fourth and sixth innings to bring the score to 5-0. Kendry Morales put the Angels on the board in the 8th with a solo shot off of Park and the Bombers promptly responded with an RBI double by Jorge Posada and a RBI single by Curtis Granderson.
That sent the game into the top of the ninth with the Yankees leading 7-1. After Abreu’s heroics, Rivera came into get the final two outs and complete the game.
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