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Friday, April 16, 2010

Robinson's Day

There's something about Jackie Robinson Day that brings out the best in Robinson Cano.

A year ago, Cano went 2-for-4 with a double, homer and two RBI against the Rays.

Thursday he took it a step further.

After presenting Jackie's widow Rachel and daughter Sharon with flowers in a pregame ceremony, Cano went 2-for-4 with two homers and three RBI in a 6-2 victory over the Angels at Yankee Stadium. Both homers were off Scott Kazmir, marking the first time Cano has homered twice in the same game against left-handed pitching.

While the anniversary for Robinson breaking the color barrier is not only a special day for baseball, but for all of society, it clearly takes on an extra special meaning for Cano, who was named for Robinson and wears 24 in honor of Jackie, who wore 42, retired throughout baseball with only Mariano Rivera the only active player still allowed to wear it every day.
“If it wasn’t for him, who knows where I would be,” Cano told the Journal News.
Fortunately, there was Jackson Robinson, Cano is a Yankee, and he led the Bombers in a big way Thursday.

With Phil Hughes starting for the first time this season, the Yankees were looking for a solid outing to win their third straight season to start season against three of the top teams in the American League -- Red Sox, Rays and Angels

Hughes delivered, pitching into the sixth, allowing two runs on three hits while striking out six. He threw 66 of a career-high 108 pitches for strikes, throwing only five of his newly developed changeups against a team scouting reports said had left-handed hitters that were good changeup hitters.

The only cause for concern was that Hughes did walk five batters. But his fastball was lively and his curve and cutter sharp, allowing to work his way around those free passes.

And really, he made just one mistake all game -- though it was one mistake Yankees fans did not mind seeing as Hideki Matsui led off the second inning and turned on a 1-and-0, 92 mph fastball and put it into the stands in right, his first hit in 10 at-bats in his return to Yankee Stadium to give the Angels a 1-0 lead.

Yankees fans had been waiting for that moment, and while some jumped all over the fans for booing Javier Vazquez and his miserable outing Wednesday, those same people today ought be praising the classy and dignified way those fans paid tribute to a player in Matsui, who gave them everything he had and actually brought home a World Championship.

But the Angels' lead didn't last long, thanks to Cano, who led off the Yankees' half of the inning with a laser into the front rows in right to tie it.

The Yankees grabbed the lead in the third as Derek Jeter led off with Jeterian homer.

From there, the Yankees just went to work against Kazmir, who allowed six runs on eight hits and three walks in four innings.

Curtis Granderson hit the first of his two triples to drive in Marcus Thames in the fourth before scoring on Derek Jeter's double to push the lead to 4-1.

Cano then put the hammerlock down the Angels, crushing a two-run homer in the fifth to make it a 6-1 lead the Angels would have no shot at overcoming.

At that point, it was up to the bullpen to close it out. Joba Chamberlain finished the eighth with a double play after Damaso Marte allowed a single to Torii Hunter, but with a chance to pick up his first save since Sept. 23, 2007, Chamberlain couldn't close the door.

Mike Napoli led off with a walk and Erick Aybar hit a grounder that Jeter couldn't come up with for a single. That meant that with everyone wearing No. 42 on this day, it was time to go to the only player who wears 42 every day.

And of course, Rivera finished it off with ease.

Up Next
Tonight vs. Rangers, 7:05 p.m., YES
C.J. Wilson (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. CC Sabathia (1-0, 3.46)

1 comment: said...

How appropriate that someone named Robinson would have a big game on Jackie Robinson Day! Unbelievable!