Comeback Win Over Tampa in Season Opener at the Stadium
On Monday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, the New York Yankees began the defense of their American League East championship and to also get rid of a bad taste in their mouths. That, of course, is a result of their October meltdown at the hands of the Detroit Tigers in the American League Division Series. With heavy hearts on an afternoon honoring the late Cory Lidle, the Yankees prevailed over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 9-5.
The ceremonial first pitch was actually thrown by two- the late Yankee pitcher's widow, Melanie Lidle, and their 6 year-old son, Christopher. The sellout crowd was ready to get the 2007 season underway, and the home team obliged by putting up a two-spot in the bottom of the first inning off ex-Met phenom and Devil Rays ace Scott Kazmir.
Carl Pavano was the unlikely starter, and the oft-injured righthander made his first appearance since June of 2005. He had a rough fifth inning and was yanked by manager Joe Torre after surrendering five runs (four earned).
"I think it's a good place to start from," Pavano stated to reporters during post-game interviews. "You have to start somewhere."
The Bombers trailed 5-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning when they mounted their comeback. Derek Jeter singled to tie the game up and an inning later, Jason Giambi had the go-ahead single for his third RBI of the game.
Alex Rodriguez homered in the eighth to cushion the lead and took a curtain call from the fans, who have not been easy on the slugger.
It was fitting that the bullpen received credit for the win on an afternoon that they took over and did the job, allowing the offense the opportunity to come back. Luis Vizcaino (1-0) pitched a 1-2-3 seventh and earned the victory. Kyle Farnsworth and Mariano Rivera followed with a scoreless inning each to close it out.
A-Rod, who had two uneasy moments in the first inning with a dropped foul pop and a strikeout, commented after the game to reporters, "It's good to get the Opening Day jitters out of the way. I started out like a moron there."
Bobby Murcer, the longtime Yankee player and announcer, was at the ballpark in his familiar place in the broadcast booth after recovering from surgery to remove a brain tumor. The 55, 035 in attendance let him know that they are all behind him in his struggle.
An emotional day that resulted in a nice win for the Yankees was exactly what the doctor ordered to forget what happened at the end of last season. This team was built to compete for the World championship and looks as if they will be right in the mix throughout the summer.