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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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The Yankees kick off their season at home on Tuesday with a full day of festivities including a ring ceremony, raising of a championship banner and a game with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Stadium gates will open to fans at 11:00 am, allowing fans to get settled in and comfortable.  Festivities will kick off around 12:15-12:30 with the ring ceremony in the infield.  The remaining members of the 2009 champions will receive their rings straight from the hands of hall-of-famer and 6-time champion Whitey Ford along with hall-of-famer and 10-time champion Yogi Berra.

A unique twist on the ceremony will be the presence of former Yankee and fan-favorite Hideki Matsui.  Obviously a coincidence in scheduling, but the Yankees will be facing Matsui’s new team, the Angels, meaning Matsui will be present to collect his ring.  Unfortunately, he will be wearing Angel’s red.  Matsui was also the World Series MVP last season.

A banner celebrating the Yankees 2009 championship will be raised and joined by replica flags for the other 26 championships will also be hung around the stadium for the duration of the day.

After introductions, the national anthem will be sung and a flyover of by NAVY jets will occur.

The first pitch to the game will be thrown out by former Yankees center-fielder and current jazz/rock musician Bernie Williams, a four-time champion himself.

Obviously, Yankees fans have a lot more to look forward to, but that those are the main points of a day that won’t be easily forgotten.

The Yankees opened the 2010 season on a good note, hitting back to back home runs to give them a 2-0 lead, which they squandered in the 7th inning and lost to the Boston Red Sox tonight in Fenway Park, 9-7.

CC Sabathia pitched 5.1 innings in his start and his counterpart Josh Beckett struggled, allowing five runs, eight hits, and only struck out one in 4.2 innings. Sabathia had six hits, five runs and four strikeouts.

Jorge Posada and Curtis Granderson hit back to back home runs in the second inning, for the first Opening Day back-to-back jacks since 1983. Posada went 3 for 4 on the evening, with two RBIs. That home run was Granderson’s only hit. Robinson Cano came up big tonight, getting two hard-hit balls, going 2 for 5 with one RBI. Everyone in the Yankees’ lineup except Nick Johnson and Mark Teixeira had hits. Derek Jeter and Brett Gardner were the only other Yankees to get multiple hits. Jeter went 2 for 5 and Gardner hit .500 with one RBI.

There was one brilliant play in the fourth inning when a double-steal happened when Jeter dashed for second base and Gardner sped home and stole home from third base. That was a payback for Jacoby Ellsbury stealing home last year. Brilliant play by the Yankees there.

While CC Sabathia did not earn the decision tonight, he was good for the first five innings, but outfield mental errors by Brett Gardner gave the Red Sox an opportunity to tie the game. It was Gardner’s first game in left field, but he definitely acted that way, not making good jumps on the ball and at one point missing the cut off man and throwing it past Jorge Posada at catcher.

Granderson, however, made an excellent back-to-wall catch in the second inning and he may be a nice asset for the Yankees in centerfield. Only the rest of the season will tell if he’s a good fit than he was in Comerica Park.

The Yankees’ bullpen imploded after Sabathia exited. David Robertson entered the game and allowed a hit, but it was Chan Ho Park, formerly of the Phillies, that allowed three runs, giving the Red Sox the advantage. Park earned the loss for the Yankees tonight. Joba Chamberlain entered in the 8th inning and wasn’t effective allowing two hits and walking one while throwing 33 pitches for 1.1 innings.

Yes, the Yankees may have lost tonight, but keep in mind the Yankees lost eight straight to open the season against the Red Sox, but look at who won the World Series last year.

Both teams are off tomorrow, and the second game is on Tuesday and it features AJ Burnett vs. Jon Lester.

Yankees @ Red Sox
Fenway Park
Game Time: 8:05 p.m.
TV: YES, ESPN

Here are the lineups:

YANKEES (0-0)
Derek Jeter SS
Nick Johnson DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Jorge Posada C
Curtis Granderson CF
Nick Swisher RF
Brett Gardner LF

Pitching: LHP CC Sabathia (19-8, 3.37 ERA in 2009)

RED SOX (0-0)
Jacoby Ellsbury LF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Victor Martinez C
Kevin Youkilis 1B
David Ortiz DH
J.D. Drew RF
Adrian Beltre 3B
Mike Cameron CF
Marco Scutaro, SS

Pitching: RHP Josh Beckett (17-6, 3.86 ERA in 2009)

Here’s a quote from Joe:

“You always get a special kick on opening day, no matter how many you go through. You look forward to it like a birthday party when you’re a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen.”

– Joe DiMaggio

Let’s go Yank-eees!

Opens on two Red Sox fans at home, singing “Sweet Caroline,” which if you didn’t know is played every game at Fenway Park.  As the two sing it, they get to the part of the song where the singer goes “oh, oh, oh” and they point at someone off-screen who ends up being Yankee outfielder Nick Swisher.

Swish, wearing a Yankees World Series Champions t-shirt, holding a bowl of pretzels says, without skipping a beat “no way dude.”

Classic.

Don’t forget, the season starts Sunday night – Yankees at Red Sox.

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