The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Yankees postgame: A-Rod catches Griffey Jr.; Kuroda impresses

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Misc on Apr 13, 2012 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

There are just four men standing ahead of Alex Rodriguez now on the all-time home-run list — Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Willie Mays (660). A-Rod tied Ken Griffey Jr. for fifth by hitting No. 630 in this 5-0 home-opening win over the Angels.

“It definitely means I’m getting old,” said Rodriguez, who has sent up 69 of the homers against the Angels, his top total against any team. “Obviously Griff is special to me because we came up together. It was kind of like the same relationship that Melky (Cabrera) and (Robinson) Cano have with me, kind of flip it a little bit. He was a teammate, he was a brother and a mentor all in one. So it was a special day today.

“You never dream of anything like this. I remember being in a cab when we were about 18 years old. We were in a cab, Derek (Jeter) and I. And we were just thinking if we could ever just get five years in the major leagues, or if we can ever make a million dollars, that would be like the biggest day of our life. So you dream of just being in the major leagues. You never dream of winning world championships or reaching milestones.”

Joe Girardi said the chase for the next milestone will be an “interesting sidebar” this season. …

Hiroki Kuroda scattered five hits, fanned six and walked two over eight-plus in his Bronx debut, a marked improvement from his first start at Tampa Bay. The 37-year-old righty showed why he can be an upgrade as the No. 2 man in the rotation.

“His splitter was good today,” Girardi said. “… Today it appeared to be a strike and then dipped down.”

He became the first Yankees starter to go at least eight scoreless in his first start at Yankee Stadium, this version or the previous one, since Bob Shirley in 1983, and the first to do that in a home season opener since Rick Rhoden in 1988. Kuroda walked off to a standing ovation.

“It’s the greatest feeling in the world,” Kuroda said through interpreter Kenji Nimura. “I’d like to repeat it as much as I can this season.” …

Nick Swisher delivered a two-out three-run double in the first. That means eight of his nine RBI have come with two outs. He’s at .417 (5 for 12) with two homers in those situations, and he has hit safely in six of the first seven games after this 2-for-4 day took him to .250 overall. …

The Yankees won their fourth straight game after losing the first three. They took their 14th home opener in the last 15 tries. And they dropped the Angels to 2-5 in the process. After managing only a single in four at-bats, Albert Pujols is sitting at just .222 with no homers and two RBI. Manager Mike Scioscia knows Pujols will get going.

“Obviously sooner is better than later, but this isn’t about Albert,” Scioscia said. “This about our team doing some things better on the mound and playing a little more fundamentally sound baseball. Albert is going to be there, but we have to be more than Albert and we are.” …

The teams have a Fox game scheduled for Saturday at 1:05. The pitching matchup will be Phil Hughes vs. C.J. Wilson.





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