Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Alex Rodriguez hit the eventual game- winning homer in the sixth inning to back CC Sabathia’s solid pitching performance, as the New York Yankees snuck past the Los Angeles Dodgers, 2-1, in the opener of a three-game series between these two storied franchises.
Sabathia (9-3) gave up one run on four hits in eight innings to win his fifth straight start for the Yankees, who have won three in a row and five of six overall. The 2007 AL Cy Young Award recipient also fanned seven batters and walked three. The durable left-hander has worked at least seven innings in every start during his winning streak.
“I’m just trying to put together solid outings. It just feels good to help your team win,” Sabathia said.
The story of the night was Los Angeles manager Joe Torre facing New York for the first time as a player or manager since 2007. Torre led the Yankees to four World Series titles and six American League pennants in each of his 12 seasons as manager from 1996-2007. The relationship between Torre and the Yankees didn’t end well, however, with the two-time AL Manager of the Year rejecting the team’s offer of a reduced salary following an early exit in the 2007 playoffs. Shortly afterward, the Dodgers signed Torre to a three-year deal to serve as their manager.
“To watch the guys coming out of the other dugout that I’m used to seeing was a little strange for me,” Torre said. “We were going against a pitcher (Sabathia) that was never on my side. We just couldn’t get anything done.”
The Dodgers’ lone offense came from Manny Ramirez, who had two hits and an RBI.
Vicente Padilla (1-2), making his second start since being activated from a two month-long stint on the disabled list, allowed two runs on six hits in seven full frames to take the hard-luck loss. The right-hander also struck out seven and walked one for Los Angeles, which has dropped 10 of its last 13 contests.
The Dodgers drew first blood in the first inning. Rafael Furcal walked, stole second, advanced to third on Andre Ethier’s groundout, and scored on Ramirez’s single.
New York tied the game in the second. Rodriguez led off with a double and crossed the plate two batters later on Jorge Posada’s base hit.
The Yankees went ahead 2-1 on Rodriguez’s blast to left in the sixth.
Mariano Rivera struck out the side in the ninth to pick up his 17th save of the year.
These two storied franchises have opposed one another 11 times in the World Series, but their only regular-season meetings occurred from June 18-20, 2004 at Dodger Stadium. Los Angeles won two of the three tilts…Pau Gasol of the World Champion Los Angeles Lakers threw out the ceremonial first pitch…The Yankees are 40-5 this season when holding their opponent to four-or-fewer runs…The Dodgers recalled pitcher Jon Link from Triple-A Albuquerque and designated pitcher Charlie Haeger for assignment…Dodger hitting coach Don Mattingly played his entire 14-year career in pinstripes from 1982-95, winning an American League MVP Award in 1985 and nine Rawlings Gold Glove Awards at first base.