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It was delayed by a day, but Donnie Baseball finally made his return to Yankee Stadium today and even with a less than desired early crowd for a day/night doubleheader still got a nice tribute and a few opportunities to deservedly doff his cap to the fans. His Dodgers were also making their first visit to The Stadium in way too long, and all of it was getting packed into 1 day. After last night's rainout, the Yankees juggled their rotation a touch and gave Hiroki Kuroda the day start against impressive rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu.
- The Yankee offense got back to executing smallball in the bottom of the 2nd, getting 2 singles from Thomas Neal and Ichiro to set the table and a sac bunt by David Adams to move them over. Lyle Overbay came through with a 2-run double right after and it was a 2-0 game.
- Efficient start for Kuroda, and effective too despite the 5 hits in 4 innings. He was sinker/slider heavy and locating well to get a ton of groundball contact. He had to work around a 2nd and 3rd/0 outs situation in the top of the 4th, but did so successfully thanks to a nice defensive play on his part to start a lineout DP.
- Things got back to normal offensively in the bottom of the 5th. The Yanks loaded the bases with 1 out only to have Vernon Wells strike out and Neal ground out to let Ryu off the hook and keep it a 2-run game.
- Ichiro quickly made up for that blown opportunity by leading off the bottom of the 6th with a HR. As underwhelming as he's been this year, he's been one of the better hitters for the last few weeks.
- Kuroda continued to cruise through 6 before getting into trouble again after putting the first 2 runners on in the 7th. His pitches started coming in a bit higher in the zone and the Dodgers took advantage. Kuroda failed to make it out of the inning after a Jerry Hairston RBI single, but he left with the lead intact.
- The Yanks extended that lead in the bottom half on some hilariously awful defensive errors and another Ichiro hit, then Preston Claiborne almost gave it back in the 8th. D-Rob and Mo came in to lock things down and preserve the win.
- Ichiro: 3-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. Easily Ichiro's best game of the season thus far. He looked great at the plate, factored in all of the Yankees' scoring rallies, and made a terrific leaping catch at the wall.
- Mo: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K. On an uneven day for the bullpen it was good to see Mo turn in a more Mo-like outing.
- Wells: 0-4, 1 R, 2 K, 6 LOB. In a way, he did kinda did do the job of the cleanup hitter today. After he failed to drive any of them in, they got cleaned off the basepaths when the inning ended.
Game 2 of the doubleheader is coming up later tonight. Phil Hughes and Chris Capuano get the starts.