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Toronto at New York

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Toronto (0-1)010010000260
N.Y. Yankees (1-0) «10000110x380

Yankees edge Blue Jays, win final opener at 'House That Ruth Built'

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- Last opener at the old place, first victory for Joe Girardi.

Just how the Babe would have wanted it.

Chien-Ming Wang shut down the Toronto Blue Jays for seven innings, making Girardi a winner in his rain-delayed debut as Yankees manager and sending New York to a record-setting 3-2 victory Tuesday night.

"It was a big night," Jason Giambi said. "This one is huge."

Back in 1923, Babe Ruth hit a home run in front of 74,200 fans on the day Yankee Stadium opened. This time, it was Melky Cabrera's shot that tied it for New York. And the 84th opener at this storied ballpark ended like so many that came before -- with a victory by the home team.

After wet weather postponed the festivities Monday, Wang and the Yankees beat Roy Halladay (0-1) to win their major league-best 11th consecutive home opener. That snapped a tie with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who won 10 in a row from 1945-54, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

With owner George Steinbrenner and his son, Hank, a Yankees general partner, watching from their suite above home plate, Cabrera also made two outstanding catches in center field.

Alex Rodriguez scored on Hideki Matsui's grounder in the seventh, breaking a 2-2 tie.

"It was a good, clean game. The difference was their defense," Toronto manager John Gibbons said.

Joba Chamberlain struck out two in a hitless eighth to the delight of his polio-stricken father, Harlan, who attended the game and cheered from his motorized scooter.

Mariano Rivera worked a perfect ninth for the save and handed Girardi the souvenir ball from the final out as the sellout crowd of 55,112 roared.

"He just congratulated me and he said that's No. 1 and let's get a lot more," Girardi said. "It's a neat moment for me."

Girardi took over this season from his popular mentor, Joe Torre, who guided the Yankees to playoff appearances in all 12 years at the helm.

"I know he really wanted to win this game," Derek Jeter said. "I'm happy for him."

Set to move next year into a new $1.3 billion ballpark that's under construction next door, New York improved to 58-26 in Yankee Stadium openers. The club has won 16 of its past 17, and 22 of 25.

When the game became official after the fifth inning, the video board in right-center showed a tape of George Steinbrenner pulling a lever as the digital countdown of regular-season games remaining at Yankee Stadium flipped from 81 to 80.

"You really can feel it from the fans, this year especially," Hank Steinbrenner said, adding that his father went over to see the new stadium Tuesday. "You can feel the excitement and the fever and the fans are, man, that really is like a 10th player out there."

It rained again Tuesday in New York, but the skies cleared about 75 minutes before gametime. Reggie Jackson was escorted to the mound by fellow Hall of Famer Yogi Berra to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

But a pair of Yankee Stadium staples were missing: longtime broadcaster Bobby Murcer and public-address announcer Bob Sheppard.

Murcer is regaining his strength following a brain biopsy last month. He had surgery in December 2006, four days after being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.

Sheppard wasn't behind the microphone because he's recuperating from an illness, so he was replaced by regular backup Jim Hall. When Jeter stepped to the plate, however, he was introduced by a recording of Sheppard's famous voice.

"I always want him to announce my name," Jeter said. "To me, Yankee Stadium is not the same without his voice."

A hamstring injury prevented Wang from starting the 2007 opener, and he ended the season by getting tagged in two playoff losses to Cleveland. But his sinker was on against Toronto and he was helped by several fine defensive plays -- including a couple by Giambi at first base.

"Joe ran us a lot in spring training. Everybody's in great shape and we played great defense tonight because of it," Giambi said.

Girardi visited the mound with a runner on third and two outs in the seventh, then stayed with Wang (1-0). Rodriguez snared David Eckstein's grounder to third, ending the inning.

Coming off his third AL MVP award, Rodriguez hit a two-out RBI double in the first inning.

Marco Scutaro and Shannon Stewart had RBI groundouts for Toronto.

Cabrera connected leading off the sixth, a pop fly that barely cleared the 314-foot sign in the right-field corner to Halladay's chagrin. That snapped Cabrera's streak of 163 at-bats without a home run since Aug. 12 at Cleveland.

"He had definitely the best curtain call that I've seen in a long time," Giambi said. "Straight scissor kick."

Notes

  • Jeter made his 12th opening-day start at shortstop for the Yankees, passing Hall of Famer Phil Rizzuto for the franchise record.
  • Hank Steinbrenner said the Yankees still plan to make Chamberlain a starter in time for the playoffs.
  • Thomas extended his opening-day hitting streak to 14 games, the longest current run in the majors.
  • Rivera didn't get his first save last season until April 28.
 
Copyright 2014 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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In the final opener at 85-year-old Yankee Stadium, 23-year-old Melky Cabrera is the big hero.  (Getty Images)
In the final opener at 85-year-old Yankee Stadium, 23-year-old Melky Cabrera is the big hero. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
New York

A. Rodriguez
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
Toronto

R. Halladay
IP 7.0
H 7
ER 3
BB 2
K 3
 
Toronto Blue Jays
David Eckstein, SS4000012 .000
Shannon Stewart, LF4011000 .250
Alex Rios, RF2010211 .500
Vernon Wells, CF4000013 .000
Frank Thomas, DH4110011 .250
Lyle Overbay, 1B4010010 .250
Aaron Hill, 2B4010001 .250
Marco Scutaro, 3B3101101 .000
Gregg Zaun, C3010002 .333
Totals3226235  
Batting
2B - Aaron Hill (1, Wang)
RBI - Shannon Stewart (1), Marco Scutaro (1)
SB - Alex Rios (1, 2nd base off Chamberlain/Posada), Marco Scutaro 2 (2, 2nd base off Wang/Posada, 2nd base off Wang/Posada)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Overbay-Eckstein, Eckstein-Hill-Overbay
Toronto Blue Jays
Roy Halladay (L,0-1) 7733231 3.86
Scott Downs 1100100 0.00
IBB - Posada by Roy Halladay, Rodriguez by Scott Downs
Pitches-Strikes - Roy Halladay 95-61, Scott Downs 13-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roy Halladay 13-2, Scott Downs 3-0
Batters Faced - Roy Halladay 27, Scott Downs 5
New York Yankees
Johnny Damon, LF4010010 .250
Derek Jeter, SS4010001 .250
Bobby Abreu, RF4120001 .500
Alex Rodriguez, 3B3121101 .667
Jason Giambi, 1B3000103 .000
Robinson Cano, 2B3010000 .333
Jorge Posada, C2000111 .000
Hideki Matsui, DH3001000 .000
Melky Cabrera, CF3111012 .333
Totals2938333  
Batting
2B - Alex Rodriguez (1, Halladay)
3B - Johnny Damon (1, Downs)
HR - Melky Cabrera (1, Halladay)
RBI - Alex Rodriguez (1), Hideki Matsui (1), Melky Cabrera (1)
2-OUT RBI - Alex Rodriguez (1)
CS - Derek Jeter (1, 2nd base by Halladay/Zaun)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Cano-Giambi
New York Yankees
Chien-Ming Wang (W,1-0) 7622220 2.57
Joba Chamberlain (H,1) 1000120 0.00
Mariano Rivera (S,1) 1000010 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Chien-Ming Wang 92-50, Joba Chamberlain 21-14, Mariano Rivera 12-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chien-Ming Wang 13-5, Joba Chamberlain 1-0, Mariano Rivera 1-1
Batters Faced - Chien-Ming Wang 28, Joba Chamberlain 4, Mariano Rivera 3
Game Information
Attendance - 55112
Game Time - 2:31
Temperature - 64
Umpires - Home - Gary Darling, First Base - Jerry Meals, Second Base - Bill Miller, Third Base - Paul Emmel