Rapid Reaction: Yankees 6, Tigers 3

March, 31, 2011
3/31/11
4:14
PM ET


Recap | Box score | Photos

What it means: The Grandy Man can. Curtis Granderson, who was questionable for Opening Day because of an oblique strain, nailed the go-ahead solo shot in the seventh off former Yankees lefty Phil Coke.

After A-Rod, Granderson seemed like the most obvious Yankee to have bigger numbers this season. Since hitting coach Kevin Long fixed his swing in August, Granderson has been a different player. Granderson looked very good this spring before the oblique injury. He picked up where he had left off to lead the Yankees to an Opening Day win.

Turning point: For the Yankees' hierarchy, they can go all Hannibal from "The A-Team." To paraphrase, they love it when a plan comes together. So the turning point was Jan. 18, the day Rafael Soriano signed with the Yankees.

With Soriano handling the eighth and Mariano Rivera the ninth, the owners Hal and Hank Steinbrenner, along with president Randy Levine, looked very good for pressing for Soriano. From Day 1, going into the eighth inning trailing the Yankees is a very scary proposition for opponents. The Tigers found out on Thursday.

Tex message: No slow start this year. Mark Teixeira, he of the famous slow starts, nailed a three-run homer that wrapped around the right-field foul pole in the third. It gave the Yankees a 3-1 lead. Last April (and March), Teixeira had only two homers in 81 at-bats. He hit just .136 the first month of the season.

CC gets a B: That is the grade Sabathia deserved after pitching a solid six innings. He gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks.The tying run he gave up in the fifth was not his fault. It was a result of Robinson Cano's error; Cano couldn't handle a simple flip from Teixeira. Miguel Cabrera then hit a sac fly to tie. Sabathia earned a no-decision but definitely passed his first test.

Captain Comeback? Not really on Opening Day. Jeter remained 74 hits shy of 3,000. He did have a sac fly but did not look great on the first day of the 2011 season. Jeter went 0-for-2 with a walk and the RBI. In the second, he also let a hard-hit single from Cabrera get the best of him at short. It was ruled a hit and led to a run.

A-Rod stylin' and profilin': Sorry, got a little Knicks fever in me. Anyway, Alex Rodriguez hit a laser off the right-field wall in a tie game in the sixth. It looked like it might go out, to John Sterling and even to A-Rod, who took his time getting out of the box. It might have cost A-Rod a triple. Probably more importantly, A-Rod continued crushing the ball, as he did all spring.

What's next?: The 2011 A.J. Burnett Experience gets under way. First, the Yankees have an off day on Friday, and then at around 4:10 p.m. Saturday, Burnett pitches for the first time all year. He has a bad head cold, but the start doesn't seem to be in jeopardy. When he was introduced before Opening Day, though, he was wearing short sleeves.
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.288 14 64 64
OTHER LEADERS
HRM. Teixeira 20
RBIJ. Ellsbury 64
RB. Gardner 81
OPSB. Gardner .787
WM. Tanaka 12
ERAH. Kuroda 3.88
SOM. Tanaka 135