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Yankees-Angels: Robinson Cano, Yanks Have L.A.'s Number on Jackie Robinson Day

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst IApril 16, 2010

NEW YORK - APRIL 15: (L-R) Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, and Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees all wear the number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson before the game against the Los Angeles Angels during their game on April 15, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

On April 15, 1947, 28-year-old Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers broke baseball's color barrier and started a whole new trend for Major League Baseball.

Because of that, Jackie Robinson Day is commemorated every April 15. With the exception of Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, Robinson's No. 42 is retired throughout baseball and will never be worn again.

That is except for on April 15, when every player and coach on every team that plays wears the number on the back of their jersey.

The Yankees and Angels played the rubber match of their three-game series on the night of April 15, and who better to have a standout game than the Yankee who is named after the Hall of Famer.

Robinson Cano (who wears 24, a flip-flopped 42 in honor of Robinson) went 2-for-4 with two home runs and three RBI.

Not only did Cano have a great night, but he's also having a great season as the No. 5 hitter in the Yankees' lineup, hitting .395 with four home runs.

Curtis Granderson continues to play well in his first weeks as a Yankee: He also went 2-for-4 with two triples and an RBI. The triples reminded the fans of the old Granderson who used to burn up the speed paths in Detroit, especially during that 2006 ALDS in which the Tigers beat the Yankees.

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Marcus Thames, who got the start over Nick Johnson with a lefty on the hill, is paying dividends on the bench, going 2-for-3 Thursday and hitting .429 as a right-handed bat off the bench.

Thames started, as did Randy Winn over Brett Gardner because the Angels had Scott Kazmir on the mound.

Kazmir has been tough on the Yankees, though more so when he was with the Rays. Ever since the Angels acquired him last summer, the Yankees haven't had many problems against the lefty.

Kazmir only went four innings, allowed eight hits and six runs, walked three, struck out two and allowed three home runs, which made his ERA balloon to 13.50.

Kazmir's opposition, Phil Hughes, had a much better night. Hughes was making his 2010 debut as the Yankees' No. 5 starter and he wasn't dominant, but at times he was pretty good.

Hughes went five innings, allowed three hits and two runs, walked five and struck out six to get his first victory of the season.

Hughes allowed a solo home run in the second inning to former Yankee Hideki Matsui, who continued to get cheered in his introductions and was even cheered when he hit the home run off Hughes to put the Angels up 1-0.

Despite Matsui being a visitor on a rival team, it's really nice to see the Bronx faithful still show their respects to him for the seven years of work he put in with the team, even when the guy hits a home run against their team.

Now going back, Hughes wasn't dominant, and he must keep his walks down, but he had hitters swinging and missing at his fastball and curveball and he even broke out a few changeups.

Hughes' performance was much better than Javier Vazquez's last two, and hopefully if Hughes starts winning more games, it pushes Javy to compete harder and pitch better.

Following Hughes, the bullpen was very good. After a shaky Tuesday afternoon in allowing a grand slam to Bobby Abreu, David Robertson pitched 1 2/3 innings and struck out three and was much better.

Damaso Marte continues to get lefties out, which included striking out Abreu. Joba Chamberlain got a hold after pitching 1 1/3 innings and got out of a jam in the eighth by forcing an inning-ending double play.

Mariano Rivera pitched to one Angel to get the final out and picked up his fourth save of the season.

Rivera is the final player in major league history to wear the No. 42, which was officially retired by baseball on April 15, 1997, 50 years after Robinson's breaking of the barrier. Because Rivera and nine others at the time still wore 42, they could keep the number. One by one, each player has left baseball except for Rivera, who continues to wear the number everyday.

Another impressive victory for the Yankees and another series win, which makes the Yankees 3-for-3 so far against tough opponents in the Red Sox, Rays and Angels.

The only major blemish from this series was Vazquez's pitching, which left him 0-2. Some are wondering if he can even pitch in the American League or if he was better suited to be in Atlanta. But again, it's only the second week, so we have a ton of baseball left to figure out.

Mark Teixeira continues his April showers by hitting just .091, but nobody is really concerned considering we know what happens from May until the rest of the season. He did walk three times against the Angels, which shows good patience at the plate, but we all know Teixeira's bat is eventually going to start cooking.

On Friday, CC Sabathia will make his third start of the season and lead the Yankees in another series against another tough A.L. contender, the Texas Rangers, who are expected to throw C.J. Wilson.

The last time Sabathia was on a mound, he threw 7 2/3 innings of no-hit baseball.

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