Collection of firsts at new Yankee Stadium
Posada christens ballpark with fifth-inning home run off Lee
NEW YORK -- The first home run at the new Yankee Stadium was appropriately hit by a Yankee, as Jorge Posada christened the building with a line drive over the center-field wall in the fifth inning, plopping onto the netting that protects the relocated Monument Park.
Posada watched the ball soar toward the restaurant windows that double as a batters eye, but it was not until he reached the Yankees' dugout that the 37-year-old catcher realized he'd done something special. Posada doffed his helmet for a curtain call, an acknowledgment that history had been made.
"It's going to set in a little later," Posada said. "I'm going to remember the home run, no question about it. I'm going to remember -- it's a great thing. I'm happy about it, but right now it's a little disappointing on our part."
"I'm very happy for him," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We don't talk a lot about individual stuff here, but for Jorgie to hit the first homer, I was very happy for him. He's been here a long time and he's meant a lot to this franchise."
The regular-season opener of the magnificent facility did not go the way of the Bombers' April 18, 1923, beginnings across 161st Street, as New York's bullpen could not hold a tie and served up another memorable moment -- Grady Sizemore's grand slam, the first home run hit into the right-field porch.
"It's always exciting coming to New York, and getting a chance to open a new stadium is something I'll always keep with me and enjoy," Sizemore said.
Everyone in uniform seemed to know something special was happening from the minute they laced up their spikes, setting foot on the field for what will be regarded as a historic occasion, no matter the outcome.
"I think it lasts for the entire day, especially when you're talking about opening a new stadium," said Derek Jeter, the first Yankees batter. "People are going to pay attention to the first hit, the first run, the first home run. It's going to go on for a while. That's a good thing. It's fun for us as players."
Johnny Damon logged the Stadium's first hit, batting with one out in the first inning and stroking a single to center field. It would be the only hit for Damon in five trips, however, so he struck a chord of melancholy when asked about the topic after the game.
"It was memorable to get the first one, but the other four I would definitely like to forget," Damon said. "That's something I will definitely always remember."
Though CC Sabathia threw the building's first pitch, a ball outside to Sizemore, the winning pitcher was Cleveland's Cliff Lee, who held the Yankees to one run in seven innings.
"After the fact, it's neat to say I started the first game in Yankee Stadium," Lee said. "To get the win makes it that much neater."
CC Sabathia, ball to Grady Sizemore, first inning
Johnny Damon, single, first inning
First home run:
Jorge Posada, solo fifth inning
Kelly Shoppach, double, fourth inning
First run scored:
Ben Francisco, fourth inning
Sizemore groundout to first baseman Mark Teixeira, first inning
First hit (Indians):
Francisco, double, second inning
Sabathia gets Victor Martinez swinging to end the first inning
First home run (Indians):
Sizemore, seventh inning
First run (Yankees):
Posada, fifth inning
First RBI (Yankees):
Posada, fifth inning
Tony Graffanino, throw to first base, fifth inning
First wild pitch:
Cliff Lee, fourth inning
Jose Veras, Yankees
First caught stealing:
Sizemore -- Posada to Robinson Cano, fifth inning
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.