Tampa Bay at New York

Tampa Bay
W: L. Vizcaino (1-0) L: B. Stokes (0-1)
HR: TB - E. Dukes (1)   NYY - J. Posada (1), A. Rodriguez (1)

Pavano back on mound as Yankees overcome Devil Rays

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

NEW YORK -- On an emotional opening day, the New York Yankees honored Cory Lidle, welcomed back Bobby Murcer and beat Tampa Bay for a satisfying start.

Jason Giambi and Alex Rodriguez came through with big hits and the Yankees even got a few encouraging innings from Carl Pavano in a 9-5 victory Monday over the baby-faced Devil Rays.

Giambi, who hit a go-ahead single in the seventh for his third RBI, was a big part of the poignant pregame ceremonies. After a touching video tribute to Lidle, Giambi escorted the pitcher's wife, Melanie, and 6-year-old son, Christopher, toward the mound before they threw out first pitches.

Lidle and Giambi were old friends and high school teammates. The 34-year-old right-hander was killed in a plane crash Oct. 11 in New York after finishing last season with the Yankees. His locker at Yankee Stadium will remain unoccupied all season, and the team is wearing black armbands on their jerseys in memory of him.

"That was probably one of the single hardest things I've had to do in my life," said Giambi, who also hit a two-run single in the first.

Murcer, a longtime Yankees player and broadcaster who is fighting brain cancer, returned to the ballpark and received a huge ovation. He appeared in good spirits.

In addition, the team held a moment of silence for former star Hank Bauer and baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn, both of whom died recently.

"Everybody had a lump in their throat before the game," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "You couldn't help but choke up."

With owner George Steinbrenner watching from his luxury suite behind home plate, the oft-injured Pavano pitched his first major league game since June 2005. Derek Jeter hit a tying, two-run single and Rodriguez homered after making an early error to help the Yankees win their 10th straight home opener.

"It's good to get the opening-day jitters out of the way," Rodriguez said. "I started out like a moron there."

Another familiar Yankee, Bernie Williams, was missing at opening day for the first time since 1991.

The veteran outfielder and fan favorite declined the club's offer of a minor league contract and never came to spring training. But he called Torre on Monday morning to wish him luck, then chatted with Jeter and Jorge Posada.

Elijah Dukes homered off Pavano in his first big league at-bat, and fellow Tampa Bay prospect B.J. Upton had two hits, an RBI and a stolen base. The Devil Rays, who fielded the youngest opening-day lineup since the 1983 Minnesota Twins, led 5-3 before Scott Kazmir and his bullpen faltered.

"I was just worrying about not being too amped-up," Kazmir said. "You know, just overthrowing and stuff like that and I kind of fell into kind of being not as aggressive as I would like to be."

Luis Vizcaino (1-0) worked a perfect seventh for the victory in his Yankees debut. Kyle Farnsworth tossed a scoreless eighth, and Mariano Rivera struck out all three batters in the ninth.

Posada also homered for the Yankees, who have won 15 of their past 16 home openers and 21 of the last 24. Center fielder Johnny Damon left in the sixth with cramps in both calves.

Despite some sloppy defense behind him, Pavano carried a 3-1 lead into the fifth before running into trouble. Carl Crawford's RBI single tied it and Rocco Baldelli chased Pavano with a run-scoring single that gave Tampa Bay the lead.

"I'm pleased to an extent," said Pavano, a free-agent bust since signing a $39.95 million, four-year contract with the Yankees before the 2005 season. "You just want to get out there and compete."

Delmon Young's RBI single off Brian Bruney made it 5-3, but Jeter tied it with a two-run single off Shawn Camp in the sixth.

Since his previous big league outing on June 27, 2005, Pavano was sidelined by injuries to his shoulder, back, buttocks, elbow and ribs. He had a setback while rehabilitating in Florida when he got into a car accident, which he initially kept from the team.

His absence drew the ire of impatient fans and even a few teammates. Early in spring training, Mike Mussina said Pavano had to prove his resolve and earn the club's trust. The two met the next day and straightened everything out.

But in an ironic twist, Pavano was handed his unlikely opening-day assignment because several OTHER Yankees pitchers got hurt this spring while he finally stayed healthy and on schedule.

Pavano allowed five runs -- four earned -- and six hits in 4 1/3 innings. After 73 pitches, he left to a mix of cheers and boos.

"He did well," Steinbrenner said.

With the score tied at 5, Rodriguez opened the seventh with a hard shot that caromed off shortstop Ben Zobrist for a single. Rodriguez stole second and scored on Giambi's single off loser Brian Stokes (0-1).

Bobby Abreu added an RBI single off Ruddy Lugo in the eighth and Rodriguez hit a two-run shot to left-center, making it 9-5. He came out for a curtain call.


  • Lidle's parents and twin brother also stood near the Yankees' dugout during the pregame tribute. The family stayed for the game and watched from a suite.
  • The average age of players in Tampa Bay's lineup was 24.79.
  • Jeter committed one of New York's three errors.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Jason Giambi appears in mid-season form with a go-ahead single in the seventh and three RBI.  (AP)
Jason Giambi appears in mid-season form with a go-ahead single in the seventh and three RBI. (AP)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

C. Crawford
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
New York

J. Giambi
AB 5
R 0
H 2
HR 0

Related Video

Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Carl Crawford, LF4121002 .500
Ben Zobrist, SS4000012 .000
Rocco Baldelli, DH4111011 .250
Ty Wigginton, 1B4010011 .250
Delmon Young, RF4011011 .250
Akinori Iwamura, 3B3110102 .333
Dioner Navarro, C4000013 .000
Elijah Dukes, CF3111110 .333
B.J. Upton, 2B4121010 .500
HR - Elijah Dukes (1, Pavano)
RBI - Carl Crawford (1), Rocco Baldelli (1), Delmon Young (1), Elijah Dukes (1), B.J. Upton (1)
2-OUT RBI - Delmon Young (1), B.J. Upton (1)
SB - Carl Crawford (1, 2nd base off Pavano/Posada), Rocco Baldelli (1, 2nd base off Bruney/Posada), B.J. Upton (1, 2nd base off Pavano/Posada)
CS - Delmon Young (1, 2nd base by Bruney/Posada)
Team LOB - 4
Outfield Assists - Elijah Dukes 1
DP - Dukes-Zobrist-Upton
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Scott Kazmir 5655451 9.00
Shawn Camp (BS,1) 0.1100000 0.00
Brian Stokes (L,0-1) 1.2211000 5.40
Ruddy Lugo 0.1111000 27.00
Juan Salas 0.2222001 27.00
HBP - Jeter (by Scott Kazmir), Cabrera (by Shawn Camp)
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Kazmir 105-61, Shawn Camp 7-3, Brian Stokes 15-9, Ruddy Lugo 4-3, Juan Salas 16-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Kazmir 5-5, Shawn Camp 1-0, Ruddy Lugo 1-0, Juan Salas 1-1
Batters Faced - Scott Kazmir 26, Shawn Camp 3, Brian Stokes 6, Ruddy Lugo 2, Juan Salas 4
New York Yankees
Johnny Damon, CF2110101 .500
    Melky Cabrera, CF0000000 .000
Derek Jeter, SS4012014 .250
Bobby Abreu, RF5221006 .400
Alex Rodriguez, 3B5222010 .400
Jason Giambi, DH5023010 .400
Hideki Matsui, LF3000111 .000
Jorge Posada, C4221003 .500
Robinson Cano, 2B4110011 .250
Josh Phelps, 1B0000200 .000
   a- Doug Mientkiewicz, PH-1B11100001.000
a-hit a sacrifice bunt for Phelps in the 6th
HR - Alex Rodriguez (1, Salas), Jorge Posada (1, Kazmir)
SH - Melky Cabrera (1), Doug Mientkiewicz (1)
RBI - Derek Jeter 2 (2), Bobby Abreu (1), Alex Rodriguez 2 (2), Jason Giambi 3 (3), Jorge Posada (1)
2-OUT RBI - Bobby Abreu (1), Alex Rodriguez 2 (2), Jason Giambi 2 (2)
SB - Johnny Damon (1, 3rd base off Kazmir/Navarro), Bobby Abreu (1, 2nd base off Kazmir/Navarro), Alex Rodriguez (1, 2nd base off Stokes/Navarro)
Team LOB - 8
DP - Jeter-Cano-Phelps, Jeter-Cano-Phelps
E - Derek Jeter (1, Throwing), Josh Phelps (1, Throwing), Alex Rodriguez (1, Dropped fly)
New York Yankees
Carl Pavano 4.1654221 8.31
Brian Bruney 0.2100010 0.00
Sean Henn 1100000 0.00
Luis Vizcaino (W,1-0) 1000000 0.00
Kyle Farnsworth (H,1) 1100010 0.00
Mariano Rivera 1000030 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Carl Pavano 72-42, Brian Bruney 5-4, Sean Henn 16-10, Luis Vizcaino 5-4, Kyle Farnsworth 14-8, Mariano Rivera 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Carl Pavano 6-5, Sean Henn 1-1, Kyle Farnsworth 1-1
Batters Faced - Carl Pavano 21, Brian Bruney 2, Sean Henn 3, Luis Vizcaino 3, Kyle Farnsworth 4, Mariano Rivera 3
Game Information
Attendance - 55035
Game Time - 3:01
Temperature - 48
Umpires - Home - Gary Darling, First Base - Larry Poncino, Second Base - Jerry Meals, Third Base - Bruce Dreckman