Robinson Cano Hits Two Home Runs, Leads Yankees Over Angels 6-2

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NEW YORK — Curtis Granderson hit
two triples and threw Hideki Matsui out at the plate and Robinson Cano
homered twice, leading the New York Yankees over the Los Angeles Angels
6-2 Thursday night.

Derek Jeter homered and had an RBI
double for the Yankees. The World Series champions have opened the
season by winning a series against three potent rivals — Boston, Tampa
Bay and the Angels.

Phil Hughes (1-0) labored through
five-plus innings in his first start since winning the No. 5 starter job
from Joba Chamberlain this spring. The Angels dropped to 3-7 for their
worst start since 2002, the year they won their only championship.

After helping present a bouquet of
flowers to Jackie Robinson's widow, Rachel, during a ceremony
commemorating the 63rd anniversary of the Brooklyn Hall of Famer
breaking baseball's color barrier, Cano also delivered at the plate.

Cano connected twice off Scott Kazmir
(0-1), who was activated from the disabled list before the game to make
his first appearance of the season.

Matsui homered in the top of the
second for the Angels in the final game of his homecoming to New York. A
fan favorite in his seven years in the Bronx, last year's World Series
MVP got a rare — if not unheard of — salute from the crowd of 44,722
after giving Los Angeles a 1-0 lead: a standing ovation for a visiting
home run.

Cano quickly answered after Matsui's
homer, leading off the bottom half with a tying shot over the
right-field wall. Jeter connected to open the third and had a
ground-rule double an inning later, driving in Granderson, who hit an
RBI triple. Granderson also tripled in the fifth.

Granderson ended the top of the fourth
by throwing out Matsui trying to score from second on Mike Napoli's
single to center field.

Hughes began his big league career as a
heralded prospect in 2007. He then went 0-4 in an injury-plagued '08
season and was bumped to the bullpen last year when Chien-Ming Wang
returned from an injury. Hughes excelled in 44 relief appearances and
impressed manager Joe Girardi with the command of his changeup this
spring.

But the right-hander was wild in his
first outing against big leaguers since the season started. After
pitching in extended spring training to stay ready, Hughes tied a career
high with five walks and threw 108 pitches. He gave up two runs and
three hits, striking out six and earning a hearty reception from the
fans when he exited with two on and none out in the sixth.

Mariano Rivera got one out in the
ninth for his fourth save of the season and 530th of his career. On a
night when all players in the majors wore No. 42 to honor Jackie
Robinson, the Yankees' closer kept his own number — Rivera is the only
player still wearing 42 on an everyday basis.

Kazmir, acquired from Tampa Bay in a
trade last August, was sidelined with a strained right hamstring. He
entered with a 2.67 ERA against the Yankees, although New York got to
him for four runs in four innings of Game 4 of the American League
championship series last year.

Continuing a trend with Angels
pitchers, he allowed three home runs. Los Angeles has yielded 17 long
balls in 10 games this season — their win Wednesday was the only
homerless game of the year.

Kazmir gave up six runs and eight
hits. He was pulled with no outs in the fifth, after Cano hit his second
homer.

Notes
The teams combined to walk 13
batters. … It was Cano's fifth multihomer game. … The Angels made no
errors in the three-game series. They made eight in a six-game loss to
the Yankees in the ALCS. … Granderson last had two triples on Aug. 18,
2008, for Detroit at Texas.

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