Yankees Ring In Home Opener With 7-5 Win Over Angels

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Yankees Ring In Home Opener With 7-5 Win Over Angels NEW YORK — Derek Jeter homered,
Jorge Posada had three hits, Andy Pettitte dazzled and Mariano Rivera
closed it out. Nothing more fitting on the day World Series rings were
handed out in the Bronx.

The core four each picked up
championship bling No. 5, then led the New York Yankees to a win in
their home opener Tuesday, 7-5 over the Los Angeles Angels in front of a
record crowd that included owner George Steinbrenner.

The Angels' Hideki Matsui might have
gotten the loudest ovation of the stirring ceremony that celebrated the
Yankees' 27th title, with fans welcoming back the World Series MVP. But
the stars who'd worn pinstripes the longest wound up as winners, once
again.

With the 2009 World Series banner
whipping in a chilly breeze, Pettitte (1-0) returned to the Yankee
Stadium mound for the first time since he won the clinching Game 6
against Philadelphia last November. He threw 100 pitches in six crisp
innings as the Yankees dropped the Angels to 2-6, their worst start
since 1972.

Rivera was needed to earn his third
save after another ex-Yankee, Bobby Abreu, hit a grand slam in the ninth
off Dave Robertson to make it 7-5.

Matsui was mobbed by his former
teammates near the mound after getting his ring in the pregame
festivities. He was regaled with a prolonged standing salute when he
stepped into the batter's box in the first inning.

The Angels' designated hitter stepped
out and tipped his helmet before striking out — another cheer — to end
the inning and got tangled with Posada, who playfully tagged him a
couple of times. Matsui went 0-for-4 in front of a record regular-season
crowd of 49,293 at the ballpark, now in its second year.

Jeter, who led off the Yankees' last
regular-season home game with a home run, hit his first homer of the
year in the fourth and hit a sharp grounder off Ervin Santana's thigh
for another RBI in the fifth.

Nick Johnson also homered for New
York, who hit team-record 136 homers in their first year at the
ballpark. The most home runs across 161st Street, now a fading memory —
thanks to a wrecking crew — was 126 in 2004 and '05.

Johnson homered off Santana (0-2) in
his first at-bat in pinstripes since 2003, when he was traded to
Montreal during the offseason, helping the Yankees win for the 12th time
in their last 13 home openers. They were routed by Cleveland in the first
game at the new stadium on April 16, 2009.

Alex Rodriguez received his first
World Series and later drove in two runs with a three-hop single off
reliever Jason Bulger that nicked diving shortstop Erick Aybar's glove
in the sixth to make it 5-0. Posada drove in a run, too.

Pettitte became the first pitcher in
postseason history to start and win all three clinching games, including
Game 6 of the ALCS against the Angels, and he began this season in
equally fine fashion. He allowed a run and six hits against Boston in
his first start and shut down the Angels' speedy offense for his 230th
career win.

He scattered five hits, walked three
and struck out six before giving way to Chan Ho Park for the seventh.
Kendry Morales hit a drive into the second deck in right field off Park
in the eighth to make it 5-1.

Notes
Angels reserve OF Reggie
Willits
(hamstring) should be activated from the 15-day disabled list on
Wednesday. LHP Scott Kazmir (hamstring) had a bullpen session Monday
and will start against New York on Thursday. … Dodgers manager Joe
Torre
was happy for Joe Girardi. Girardi came to New York in 1996, Torre's
first season as Yankees manager and played on three championship teams.
"I'm very proud of what he's done," Torre said in Los Angeles. …
Posada hit his 345th double, passing Mickey Mantle for seventh on the
Yankees all-time list. … Longtime Yankees trainer Gene Monahan, who
has been out while undergoing treatment for a serious illness, received
his ring. Players and staff hugged him and fans gave Monahan a warm
reception. … Mark Teixeira was 0-for-3 and is 3-for-27 (.111) thus
far.

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