Joe Girardi can thank young centerfielder Melky Cabrera for his first victory as the New York Yankees’ manager, a 3-2 pitchers’ duel between Chien-Ming Wang and Roy Halladay.
Cabrera made two spectacular catches in one inning—one thumping against the wall to rob Lyle Overbay of an extra base hit and an off-balance grab in left-center cheating Aaron Hill out of a double—in helping Wang hold the Toronto Blue Jays to two runs over seven innings.
Cabrera brought the Yankees back from a 2-1 deficit in the sixth inning by hitting a Yankee Stadium, 314-foot solo homerun over the short porch in right field.
Hideki Matsui gave the Yanks the lead in the seventh, hitting a potential double play ball that was bobbled by Hill, allowing Alex Rodriguez to score.
Rodriguez also drove in a run in the first inning, doubling home Bobby Abreu. Both Abreu and Rodriguez had two hits against the Jays.
Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera worked a scoreless eighth and ninth respectively.
Neither Halladay nor Wang were in top form on this Opening Day. Halladay allowed nine base runners over seven innings, while Wang allowed eight. Wang left many pitches over the plate and has Cabrera and the defense to thank for their spotless play in the field.
Tomorrow night’s action features oft-injured AJ Burnett for the Jays going against veteran Mike Mussina for the Yanks. Burnett may have better stuff than Mussina at this point in their respective careers, but Mussina will be a man on a mission this year, attempting to prove that he still deserves a role in the starting rotation.