A fantastic opening day ceremony and an even more amazing moment with Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte throwing the first pitch of the game to Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada, the home opener of Yankee Stadium was complete. And Yankees baseball could commence.
After a one-out double in the first inning, Kuroda settled down in a big way. He would get a pair of strikeouts in the third inning. The Orioles baserunners bailed out the veteran Kuroda in a pair of occasions. In the second inning, with one out, Nelson Cruz had a mental lapse and lost count of the outs. He would be doubled off of first base on a fly out to center field.
Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez would walk Yangervis Solarte in the third inning and Brett Gardner would hit a single to put runners on the corners with no outs. Derek Jeter would bring in the first run of the game with a double play.
Kuroda cruised until the fourth inning when Adam Jones would end the streak of nine consecutive Orioles retired with a single and a deep fly ball to foul territory allowed Jones to advance to second base. Matt Wieters would bring home the Orioles’ first run to tie the game at one. The Yankees responded well in the bottom half of the inning. With one out, Alfonso Soriano got his first of two hits of the game and Kelly Johnson walked to put two on with two outs. Yangervis Solarte would come through again with a single to right field that Nick Markakis wouldn’t be able to field and the Yankees reclaimed the lead.
With two outs in the fifth inning, the Orioles had their second baserunning error after Jonathan Schoop reached second with a double. The rookie Schoop wasn’t paying attention at second base and Brian McCann picked him off at second base to end the inning. The Yankees would get a deep fly ball to left field that Derek Jeter thought he hit for a home run but his hit to left field bounced off the top of the wall and Jeter hustled into second base for a double.
Kangaroo court in your future, Captain.
Jacoby Ellsbury would bring home Jeter with a single to right field to give the Yankees a two-run lead. Jimenez would struggle again with the strike zone and Ellsbury would be caught stealing for his first time of the season. Beltran would single and McCann hit a deep fly out. Soriano would get his second hit of the game and Brian Roberts would walk to load the bases. Lefty reliever Zach Britton would come in for Jimenez but he wouldn’t fair well either, walking in the Yankees fourth run of the game.
Kuroda looked to be running out of gas in the seventh inning when Chris Davis led off the inning with a ground-rule double. Wieters advanced Davis to third with a single and Nelson Cruz would bring home Davis. Kuroda would get one more out before Girardi came out to get his starter after a successful start. Matt Thornton would get his one batter out and David Phelps bounced back from his poor outing in Toronto to get his one out too.
In 6.1 innings, Hiroki Kuroda allowed two runs on eight hits while walking none and striking out four.
Adam Warren got the eighth inning and led it off with a walk but he responded well. After getting Nick Markakis to fly out, Warren reached deeper into the well and struck out Adam Jones with a 95 MPH fastball. With lefty Vidal Nuno waiting in the pen, many thought he would enter for Chris Davis but Warren stayed and rewarded Girardi for his good faith with a slider to get Davis to strikeout looking in a big moment for the starter turned reliever.
With David Robertson throwing 21 pitches in his last appearance and showing up in three of the last four games (and some unfortunate news later revealed), he was considered unavailable. Shawn Kelley got the call for the ninth inning and his opportunity at his first career save. He would get three weak outs and not only got his first save, but a save on the last opening day of Derek Jeter’s career. What a time for a first.