The final opener at Yankee Stadium ended like so many that came before — with a victory by the home team.
Chien-Ming Wang shut down the Blue Jays for seven innings, making Joe Girardi a winner in his rain-delayed debut as Yankees manager and sending New York to a record-setting 3-2 victory last night.
After wet weather postponed the festivities Monday, the Yankees beat Roy Halladay 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.
Babe Ruth homered on the day the ballpark opened in 1923. With owner George Steinbrenner and his son, Hank, a Yankees general partner, watching from their suite above home plate, Melky Cabrera homered and made two outstanding catches in centre field.
Alex Rodriguez scored on Hideki Matsui’s grounder in the seventh, breaking a 2-2 tie.
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. 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.