CC Sabathia did not have his best stuff by any means today, but he showed why he is the Yankees ace by battling for six innings to keep the Yankees in the game. The Binder needed less than an inning on Opening Day to make an appearance, calling for an intentional walk of Sean Rodriguez when CC clearly didn't have command of the strike zone. The result? Carlos Pena sent the 3-2 pitch deep into the stands for a grand slam. Sabathia walked three and struck out seven on the day, allowing only an Evan Longoria home run after the damage done in the first inning.
Luckily for the Yankees, Rays starter James Shields also struggled, allowing nine hits in only five innings of work on the day. The biggest hit off Shields came in the form of a three-run home run by Raul Ibanez, who drove in four runs in the game. Other big offensive contributions came from Alex Rodriguez, who reached base four times with a single, double, and two walks.
Curtis Granderson had a day to forget, going 0-5 with two strikeouts. James Shields seems to be Grandy's kryptonite, and the shift employed by the Rays during all of his at bats stole a few would-be hits. Russell Martin was the only other starter who failed to record a hit.
In typical Houdini fashion, David Robertson allowed base runners to get to 1st and 3rd with no one out, causing everyone's blood pressure to rise to uncomfortable levels before striking out three straight batters. One of those came by way of Jose Molina attempting a bunt with two strikes, a move so bold the Binder even looked away.
With the score 6-5 Yankees, Mariano Rivera came on for the save in the 9th inning, but allowed a single to Desmond Jennings and a triple to Ben Zobrist, tying the game. Girardi called for intentional walks of Evan Longoria and Luke Scott to load the bases before removing Swisher from the game and adding Eduardo Nunez as the 5th man in the infield. Rivera struck out Sean Rodriguez, but Carlos Pena hit a ball off the outfield wall for the walk-off win for the Rays. Tough way to begin the season, but the Yankees had their opportunities to win the game, going 2-11 with runners in scoring position and leaving 12 men on base. In a close game, those numbers just don't bode well for success.