Yankees capture opener

The Associated Press
Posted March 31, 2011, at 9:58 p.m.

NEW YORK — Curtis Granderson hit a go-ahead homer leading off the seventh inning and Mark Teixeira had a three-run shot off Justin Verlander, lifting New York over the Detroit Tigers 6-3 Thursday in the first regular-season game played in the Bronx in March.

CC Sabathia pitched six workmanlike innings, Derek Jeter added a sacrifice fly in the seventh using his new stride-less swing and Mariano Rivera, wearing his socks high for perhaps the first time, earned his first save and No. 560 for his career.

Newcomers Russell Martin and Rafael Soriano did their part as the Yankees got off to a quick start on a gray, blustery, 42-degree day.

Granderson made two spectacular catches against his former team and homered for the third straight opener — off a left-hander, no less. He connected against former Yankee Phil Coke (0-1) as New York embarked on its first full season without George Steinbrenner as owner since 1973.

Miguel Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta and Brandon Inge each drove in a run for Detroit. Verlander struck out eight in six innings, allowing three runs and three hits.

Joba Chamberlain (1-0), Soriano and Rivera pitched perfect innings and the Yankees retired the last 10 overall.

Angels 4, Royals 2

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Torii Hunter and Jeff Mathis homered, helping Jered Weaver and the Angels get the win in a chilly season opener.

Weaver (1-0) allowed two harmless singles to Melky Cabrera over 6 1-3 innings, improving to 3-0 in his last four starts against Kansas City. The 2010 major league strikeout leader fanned six and walked two as the Angels won their opener for the seventh time in the last eight years.

Hunter and Mathis, on his 28th birthday, hit solo shots off Luke Hochevar (0-1), who pitched 5 2-3 innings and gave up four runs in his first opening-day start.

Kansas City had a chance to go in front in the eighth and ninth, but the Angels got out of it both times.

With runners at the corners and two out in the ninth, Alex Gordon barely missed a home run before Fernando Rodney struck him out for the save.

Jeff Francoeur and Mike Aviles homered for the Royals.

Reds 7, Brewers 6

CINCINNATI — Ramon Hernandez hit a two-out, three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning Thursday, rallying the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-6 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in an opening-day flashback to their NL Central title season.

The Brewers became the first team in 42 years to open the season with back-to-back homers when Rickie Weeks and Carlos Gomez connected off Edinson Volquez. Ryan Braun also had a solo shot, helping Milwaukee take a 6-3 lead to the ninth.

That’s when the Reds reverted to their winning ways of 2010. Their first six wins last season came in their final at-bat, tying the major league record. Hernandez connected off closer John Axford (0-1).

The Reds trailed 6-3 when Axford — who set a Milwaukee rookie record with 24 saves last season — let it get away. Cincinnati loaded the bases with none out, but Axford fanned Jay Bruce and got Jonny Gomes to hit a sacrifice fly to deep center.

Hernandez hit an opposite-field homer into the Brewers’ bullpen, setting off another hopping home-plate celebration like so many last season. The Reds tied for second-most wins in their final at-bat while taking the NL Central title.

Logan Ondrusek pitched a scoreless inning to get the win.

Braves 2, Nationals 0

WASHINGTON — Returning from major knee surgery, Chipper Jones doubled before scoring the 2011 season’s first run, and Derek Lowe allowed three singles in 5 2-3 innings, helping Fredi Gonzalez get the win in his debut as Atlanta’s manager.

The Braves played their first regular-season game since Bobby Cox retired at the end of 2010 after two decades — and 15 playoff appearances — as their skipper.

With his sinker in fine, darting form, Lowe (1-0) struck out six and walked two. Brian McCann drove in 1999 NL MVP Jones by grounding a single up the middle off Livan Hernandez (0-1) in the first, and Jason Heyward led off the second with a homer.

Craig Kimbrel worked a 1-2-3 ninth for the save, his second in the majors.

Hernandez allowed four hits, struck out three and walked none in 6 1-3 innings for the Nationals.

Padres 5, Cardinals 3

ST. LOUIS — Cameron Maybin tied it with a two-out homer in the ninth inning and grounded a single that led to the go-ahead run in the 11th, leading San Diego to the victory.

Cardinals star Albert Pujols shared a big hug with manager Tony La Russa during player introductions, then endured an awful start to what could be his 11th and final season in St. Louis.

Pujols grounded into a career-worst three double plays while going 0 for 5. The three-time NL MVP cut off contract negotiations at the start of spring training and could be a free agent this fall.

Shortstop Ryan Theriot’s fielding error in his St. Louis debut allowed the go-ahead run to score.

Matt Holliday homered in the eighth and had three hits for St. Louis.

Pat Neshek (1-0) pitched one inning for the win. Heath Bell closed for the save.

Bryan Augustenstein (0-1) took the loss.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/03/31/sports/yankees-capture-opener/ printed on August 20, 2014