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Yankees Short Hops: Game 1

Yankees Short Hops: Game 1

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NEW YORK -- Fielding the Yankees' Game 1 win over the Tigers on a short hop ...

In < 25 words ...
The Yankees executed on both sides of the ball, getting timely hits from the offense and a strong performance out of starter Chien-Ming Wang.

Frozen moment
With the game still trying to develop a personality early on, Derek Jeter did his thing by perfectly executing a hit-and-run that sent Johnny Damon to third with nobody out in the bottom of the third. It should have been a single, but Jeter, who never stopped hustling, turned it into a double. Jeter seemed to inspire his teammates. Bobby Abreu followed with his first October Yankees moment, stinging a two-run double to right-center. Gary Sheffield delivered an RBI single; Jason Giambi belted a two-run homer. All of a sudden, it was 5-0.

Big number
One. That was how many times the Yankees struck out over the first seven innings. Their ability to put the ball in play on such a consistent basis flustered the Tigers.

Game balls (out of five)
Jeter, five. The captain once again proved why he is one of the foremost clutch players of this era, going 5-for-5, scoring three runs and belting a homer.

Abreu, four. The prized July acquisition proved to be ready for the big stage, hammering a two-run double and a two-run single.

Wang, three. Wang did allow the Tigers to get back in the game in the fifth, but he established a strong tone early on.

Sense of October
There is no place like Yankee Stadium during the postseason. The whole place beams with adrenaline and electricity, and it's hard for the Yankees not to feed off of it. From the pregame intros to the national anthem to the flyover, the Stadium had a World Series-like buzz to it, and the Yankees played like a team on a mission.

Lines of the Game
Hitting
Jeter
5 AB, 3 R, 5 H, 2 2B, 1 HR
Comment: It was Jeter's first five-hit game in postseason play. Naturally, he capped the night with a home run, prompting a curtain call from the adoring crowd.

complete coverage
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Pitching
Mike Myers
0 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 1 HR
Comment: Myers is going to need to get lefties out throughout the postseason. He didn't get it done in this one, giving up a home run to Curtis Granderson, the only batter he faced.

Next step
The Yankees have been here enough to know they can't let up after winning the opening game in a best-of-five series. They'll look for the same performance from Mike Mussina in Game 2 that they got from Wang in this one. And the big bats will do their best to make rookie Justin Verlander's first October experience a negative one.

The last word
"They're not down by any means. They're a great ballclub, they've got great starting pitching. Their bullpen is what got them there. Offensively, they can put some runs on the board so we just have to keep playing our baseball. We have a big game [Wednesday], it's like Jeter said earlier, this game doesn't mean anything unless we can get that big game tomorrow." -- Yankees designated hitter Jason Giambi

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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