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Jeter's final home opener ends in Yanks win
Bronx, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Hiroki Kuroda spun 6 1/3 strong innings while Derek Jeter went 1-for-4 with a run scored in his final home opener at Yankee Stadium, as the New York Yankees edged the Baltimore Orioles, 4-2, on Monday.
Kuroda (1-1) held the Orioles to just two runs on eight hits with four strikeouts, while Jeter opened New York's two-run fifth inning with a double that just missed clearing the wall in left field.
Jacoby Ellsbury plated Jeter with a single and finished 2-for-4, while Kelly Johnson and Yangervis Solarte added an RBI apiece for the Yankees, who have won four of their last five games.
New York did all its damage against Baltimore starter Ubaldo Jimenez (0-2), who gave up all four runs on eight hits and five walks over 4 2/3 frames.
Matt Wieters and Nelson Cruz each went 2-for-4 with an RBI for the Orioles, who have lost five of their last six games since opening the season with a win over the Boston Red Sox.
Prior to the first home game of his 20th and final season as a Yankee, Jeter took part in the ceremonial first pitch along with his other "Core Four" mates -- Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada.
"It was fun right from the start with Andy, Mo, and Jorge throwing out the first pitch," Jeter said. "It was a great day. The fans were energetic like they usually are. Home openers are special here at Yankee Stadium."
Jeter received a standing ovation in his first trip to the plate, and despite striking out, the franchise's all-time hits leader was showered with cheers from the "Bleacher Creatures" in right field as he took his place at shortstop.
The 13-time All-Star had a chance to do some damage in the third when he stepped to the plate with runners on the corners and no outs, but his grounder back to the mound was fielded by Jimenez, who wheeled around to second to start a 1-6-3 double play.
However, Solarte was able to score on the play to give New York a 1-0 lead.
Baltimore tied the game in the fourth on Wieters' two-out single to center that scored Adam Jones, but the Yankees answered with a two-out run of their own in the home half to retake the lead.
Alfonso Soriano smacked a one-out single and Johnson worked a two-out walk before Solarte slapped a sinking liner into shallow right field. Nick Markakis made a diving attempt to catch the ball, but it bounced out of his glove as he hit the ground, allowing Soriano to score for a 2-1 lead.
After David Lough was picked off at second to end the top of the fifth, Jeter ripped the second pitch of the home half of the frame off the top of the wall in left field.
Ellsbury followed with an RBI single to right, but was erased shortly after when he tried to steal second.
Carlos Beltran and Soriano then hit back-to-back singles before Brian Roberts worked a walk to load the bases for Johnson.
Zach Britton entered from the bullpen to replace Jimenez, but walked Johnson on five pitches to force in another run.
Baltimore finally chased Kuroda in the seventh, as Chris Davis scorched a ground-rule double to start the frame before Wieters followed with a single to put runners on the corners for Cruz, who ripped a single to left to score Davis and bring the O's within 4-2.
Kuroda bounced back by lining out Steve Lombardozzi before Matt Thornton took over on the mound and grounded out Ryan Flaherty. David Phelps then replaced Thornton and induced an inning-ending groundout from Jonathan Schoop.
"He's doing what he always does, sinks the ball, splits the ball and he gets his groundballs," Markakis said of Kuroda. "He didn't leave much elevated today and he kept the ball down in the zone."
Adam Warren worked around a leadoff walk in the eighth before Shawn Kelley spun a perfect ninth to secure his first career save. Kelley's services were required after the Yankees learned closer David Robertson will be heading to the disabled list due to a strained groin.
Jeter announced his plan to retire following the 2014 season back on Feb. 12. He leads all active major leaguers with 3,321 career hits and ranks eighth all-time in MLB's hits list ... Jimenez fell to 1-4 in five career starts against the Yankees ... New York narrowly won the season series against the O's a year ago, 10-9 ... Baltimore went 3-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left five men on base.
04/07 18:59:12 ET
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