Jacoby Ellsbury collected two hits, including an RBI single, in his first home start as a member of the Yankees, and it was his RBI that turned out to be the game-winning run in the Bombers' 4-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Opening Day at Yankee Stadium on Monday.
Hiroki Kuroda and the bullpen did a solid job today, limiting the Orioles' offense to just two runs on eight hits, while also issuing just one walk in the game.
It was Derek Jeter's final home opener, and everybody was there. Andy Pettitte, Mariano River and Jorge Posada took part in the pre-game ceremony, in which they both threw out the first pitch to Jeter and Posada.
After the all of the typical Opening Day celebrating, the Yankees got down to business, taking a 1-0 lead off of Orioles start Ubaldo Jimenez in the 3rd inning. Yangervis Solarte walked and Brett Gardner singled to open the inning to put runners on the corners. Then came Jeter, who tapped a ball right back to the pitchers' mound; the Orioles turned the 1-6-3 double play, letting Solarte score.
Baltimore got that run back an inning later on an RBI single by Matt Wieters. Adam Jones singled to center with one out, then Chris David flew out in foul territory to move him over to second. Wieters followed up by hitting a single off of Hiroki Kuroda to even the score at 1-1.
Kuroda looked good in his second start of the season. He threw six innings of two-run ball in his first outing last week, and this outing was a lot of the same. He was pull with one out in the 6th, giving up two runs on eight hits, while striking out four and walking none.
Solarte put the Yankees back ahead with a single in the 4th inning. An Alfonso Soriano single and Kelly Johnson walk put runners on 1st and 2nd with two outs, then Solatre singled to right field, giving the Yanks a 2-0 lead.
The Yankees doubled their lead in the 5th inning on a long frame that knocked Jimenez out of the game.
Jeter opened the inning by doubling off the wall in left field. Everybody in the park, including Jeter himself, thought that he put enough into the ball to get it over the wall, but he had to settle for a double. Ellsbury followed with a bloop single into right field, pushing the Bombers' lead to 3-1. A handful of batters later, Jimenez walked Brian Roberts to load the bases with two outs, calling for Buck Showalter to go to the bullpen.
Jimenez was all over the place, walking five in 4.2 innings, giving up four runs on eight hits, while striking out four.
Zach Britton came out of the bullpen and walked the first batter he faced, Johnson, giving the Yankees a 4-1 lead.
Later in the 7th, a Davis double and Wieters single to open the 7th put runners on 1st and 2nd, then Nelson Cruz singled David home to cut the lead to two. Kuroda retired the next batter he faced, then Joe Girardi went to his bullpen.
Matt Thornton and David Phelps both retired the only batters they faced in the 7th to get the Yankees out of the jam. Adam Warren pitched the 8th with David Robertson unavailable, moving Shawn Kelley to the 9th, and after walking the leadoff hitter, he set down the next three, Warren did. Then Kelley pitched the 9th and set down the side in order.
The Yankees are Orioles are back at it tomorrow for the second game of this three game series when Michael Pineda makes his first home start as a member of the Yankees, with the first pitch set for 1:05 pm ET.