2007_04_slidleopening.jpgYankees 9, Tampa Bay 5: Amazingly, Carl Pavano and Alex Rodriguez got through introductions without being booed and the Bleacher Creatures only did a few rounds of a “we want Bernie” chant. That was the start of Opening Day 2007 and the goodwill lasted all of four batters until A-Rod dropped a popup that would have ended the first inning.

A-Rod could have turned his fortunes around in the bottom of the inning with two runners on, but he struck out. Then, Jason Giambi tried to show him up with a 2-RBI single. Luckily, Derek Jeter was there to pick up his friend, by committing an error of his own in the second.

But Jeter couldn’t let A-Rod feel good for long. After Tampa took advantage of some lousy Yankees’ defense and Carl Pavano to build a 5-3 lead, Jeter tied the game with a two-RBI single in the sixth.

And then finally, Alex decided to start earning his money. He hit a rope in the seventh, getting on base and stealing second to setup Giambi’s go-ahead single. In the eighth he went deep to turn a two-run lead into a four-run lead and after Mariano Rivera pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, the Yankees had their first win of the year.

Photo of Melanie Lidle, Christopher Lidle, and Jason Giambi before the ceremonial first pitch by AP/Kathy Willens