LOS ANGELES -- Alex Rodriguez didn't join the pre-game parade of New York Yankees greeting Joe Torre during batting practice. He communicated through his bat, hitting a home run that won the game against his former manager.
CC Sabathia won his fifth consecutive start with eight sharp innings and New York beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1 on Friday night in the opener of their second-ever regular season series.
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It was Torre's first time facing the Yankees since leaving as manager in 2007 after leading the franchise to four World Series championships. It was like old home week for Torre, who shared embraces with current manager Joe Girardi and several players, but not Rodriguez, who stretched 15 feet from Torre with his back to him."I didn't see him, but I'm sure we'll get a chance to meet up," Rodriguez said after the game.Rodriguez was not favorably portrayed in Torre's 2009 book "The Yankee Years" and earlier in the week declined to talk about him when asked.Asked if he was upset about what was said in the book, Rodriguez said, "No, I'm focusing on what we have to do here. I'm sure we'll get an opportunity to talk at some point. We're going to be here for three days. There's no rush."Then again, it may be up to Torre to make the first move."I don't really have anything to say," Rodriguez said. "If he wants to talk, I'm more than welcome to talk to him. Sure, I'll say hello, but I didn't get a chance to say hello to Donnie and Manny and my other good friends over there. But we're not done yet. We leave Sunday."Rodriguez did credit Torre for being a "good teacher of hitting."Torre insisted he didn't feel dissed that Rodriguez seemingly blew him off as he held court on the Yankees side of the batting cage."He was busy stretching and talking to other people, so that's not what I call disrespect," Torre said. "If we had come close enough, I'm certain that we would have shook hands. I wasn't there solely for him to come over. There were coaches and players on that side and I was just going over to say hello to them."The AL East-leading Yankees won their third straight while sending the Dodgers to their 10th loss in 13 games, a slide that has plunged them from first to third in the NL West. Los Angeles remains on pace for its worst season in 15 years of interleague play, dropping to 3-10 with two games left against the Yankees.Sabathia (9-3) allowed four hits and one run, struck out seven and walked three. The defense helped him out, turning double plays in the third and fifth innings."Fastball command was probably really erratic all night, but I was able to work through it," he said. "Just trying to put together solid innings, especially with the May I had, not winning a game. It just feels good to help the team win."Mariano Rivera struck out the side in the ninth to earn his 17th save in 18 chances, striking out Manny Ramirez, Matt Kemp and James Loney. Loney complained to umpire Phil Cuzzi and was ejected as the game ended."I don't complain to umpires, but that was I thought close to embarrassing for making those types of calls," Torre said. "I can tell you from personal experience that Mariano doesn't need any help. I thought that Phil Cuzzi called a couple of pitches that were terrible. I don't think James had a shot."Vicente Padilla (1-2) gave up two runs and six hits in seven innings, struck out seven and walked one in his second start since going on the disabled list April 23 with an inflamed nerve in his pitching arm.The last time these teams met in the regular season, the Dodgers took two of three at home in 2004. Most of their history has come in the World Series, with New York winning eight of the 11 meetings.Rodriguez connected for the 10th time, sending the first pitch from Padilla into the left field pavilion for his 593rd career homer."We have all kind of guys carrying us at this point, but when we get A-Rod back, we seemed to take off," Sabathia said. "It looks like he's heading that way."The Dodgers scored on Ramirez's single in the first.New York tied it in the second on a single by Jorge Posada that scored Rodriguez, who doubled to lead off the inning.Then things got interesting.Padilla hit Robinson Cano in the right hip leading off the fourth. Sabathia then plunked Padilla in the left leg one inning later, and gestured with his glove at the Dodgers pitcher as he made his way to first, with Posada walking alongside Padilla while staying between him and Sabathia. Sabathia made a pickoff throw to first."I'm a grown man. If somebody has something to say, say it to me," Sabathia said. "I was just waiting. He was looking at me. I'm just standing there. I wasn't pointing at him."Padilla has a history with New York's Mark Teixeira dating to last year when he twice threw at his former teammate on the Texas Rangers. Nothing transpired between them this time.
Torre and Girardi both carried their lineup cards to the plate before the game. ... The Yankees are 10-6 in interleague play this season. ... The Dodgers recalled RHP Jon Link from Triple-A Albuquerque and designated RHP Charlie Haeger for assignment. ... The announced crowd of 56,000 was the Dodgers' third sellout this season. ... Pau Gasol of the two-time NBA champion Lakers threw out the first pitch and bassist Flea and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer of Red Hot Chili Peppers played the national anthem.