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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 Los Angeles Angels had a really unfortunate start to their day Tuesday as a man jumped to his death from a 42-story window at the Manhattan hotel they were staying at and a few players witnessed it.

According to ESPN New York, Angels pitchers Jered Weaver and Matt Palmer were at a coffee shop across the street and witnessed it take place.  They were obviously shaken up and neither appeared in Tuesday’s game.  Some autograph seekers and at least 13 other Angels players were also witnesses.

The man was reportedly not a guest at Le Parker Meridien and had asked to visit the hotel pool shortly before he jumped from the 42nd floor.

In the hours after the game, I am incredibly pleased with the effort by the Yankees, but I am also concerned about some things that I saw in the game.

With one clutch swing last night , Alex Rodriguez did what several teammates could not: drive in a run in the late innings.

The Yankees left runners at second and third against Kevin Jepsen in the ninth when Cano tapped a dribbler to send the game to extra innings. In the 10th, they left Cabrera at second base when Damon fouled out and Teixeira grounded to short.

In the 10th, Cabrera had reached first on a bloop single and taken second when Aybar failed to tag second while trying to turn a double play. Umpire Jerry Layne made a bold call, clearly Aybar had not touched second base. But the Yankees could not capitalize.

Dave Robertson allowed a two-out double to Jeff Mathis in the 12th, but he struck out Matthews to end the inning.

The entire staff pitched outside of CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and Chad Gaudin. Phil Coke, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Mariano Rivera, Alfredo Aceves, Damaso Marte and David Robertson combined to produced this line: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 6 K. They allowed a few too many baserunners but stranded 12 of them on base.

Rivera pitched 2.1 innings of one-hit ball before leaving after 10. It was his first two-plus inning outing since Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. It’s a good thing the Yankees have Sunday off before an afternoon game on Monday.

Alex Rodriguez is turning this into the postseason that erases all of previous failures.

After Gary Matthews scored to make it 3-2 Angels in the top of the 11th, Rodriguez hit a tying homer in the 11th inning and the Yankees edged the Angels 4-3 Saturday night on Maicer Izturis’ throwing error in the 13th for a 2-0 lead in the ALCS.

After the rain came and went on another chilly night, New York pulled out its latest late-inning thriller. The game ended at 1:07 a.m. when Izturis threw away Melky Cabrera’s grounder to second base. Jerry Hairston ran around third to home and slid safely. For his winning run, Hairston got a pie in the face from starting pitcher AJ Burnett.

The Yankees used eight pitchers, starting with AJ Burnett going 6.1 innings, allowing three hits, two runs, while walking two and striking out four. Burnett ran into trouble in the fifth and threw a wild pitch that tied the game 2-2. He settled down the next two innings to keep the game close. Then Phil Coke, Joba Chamberlain, and Phil Hughes all struck out a batter to bring in Mariano Rivera, who pitched 2.1 innings, striking out two with only 25 pitches. Dave Robertson was the winning pitcher tonight.

The Yankees’ lineup didn’t fare well. The 3-4-5 hitters went 2 for 15, with the two hits being A-Rod’s homer and Matsui’s single. Johnny Damon and Melky Cabrera both had two hits for the Yankees, who totaled 13 hits as a club, but gave up three errors in this cold, wet night.

With the day off for a cross-country trip tonight, the Yankees will face the Angels in Anaheim Monday night, with Andy Pettitte taking the ball. The Yankees now only need two more victories to get to the World Series.

CC Sabathia and the Yankees stopped the Los Angeles Angels cold tonight, 4-1.

Sabathia pitched eight superb innings of four-hit ball to win his second straight postseason start and New York took advantage of a sloppy night by the Angels.

The Angels made three errors that led to two unearned runs and allowing an infield popup to drop untouched for an RBI single. Even Torii Hunter allowed a single to roll past him.

New York built a 2-0 lead in the with a throwing error by Juan Rivera and a popup by Hideki Matsui that fell between Chone Figgins and Erick Aybar.

Matsui doubled in a run in the fifth to make it 3-1. Lackey’s throwing error on a pickoff attempt allowed Melky Cabrera to take second in the sixth, and Derek Jeter followed with a run-scoring single that got by Hunter.

Sabathia gave up a double and three singles, struck out seven and walked one, going to three-balls count just twice.

Mariano Rivera pitched a hitless ninth for his record 36th postseason save, his second this year. Rivera walked Hunter, but struck out Guerrero, got Rivera to fly out, then

A.J. Burnett is slated to start Game 2 for the Yankees, only if the game is still on.

There was a disputed call, with first base umpire Laz Diaz ruling Hunter out on his sixth-inning bunt. Angels manager Mike Scioscia argued that first baseman Mark Teixeira’s foot came off the bag when he stretched for the throw – Tex did not let go of first until after he had received the ball.

The rain is scheduled to hit the state of New York all day tomorrow and could push game two to Sunday, forcing the players to fly overnight to Los Angeles for an evening game on Monday. For now, the Yankees can go to bed with game number one in their belts.

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