NEW YORK – Feted by fans and celebrated by teammates throughout his final opening day in the Bronx, Derek Jeter hardly felt as if he was starting his 20th big league season at home.
Jeter gave Yangervis Solarte some assistance with Yankee Stadium tradition, then the rookie helped make the captain a winner Monday as New York beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-2.
“I don’t want to jinx anything but it felt really good,” Jeter said. “It felt like maybe my first home opener. It was a fun time for me.”
Missing from the win was new Yankees closer David Robertson. He strained his groin and will be placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Jeter doubled high off the left-field wall, nearly getting thrown out at second after he started out in a home run trot before turning up the speed, and scored on Jacoby Ellsbury’s first hit in pinstripes in the fifth. Hiroki Kuroda (1-1) pitched 6⅓ sharp innings in the Yankees’ 112th opener in New York.
Teammates in the dugout teased Jeter for his near blunder.
“For Derek, at 40, we’re going to let it slide,” said injured first baseman Mark Teixeira, pushing Jeter’s 40th birthday up a couple of months from June.
In what manager Joe Girardi said would be a season-long lovefest for Jeter, the shortstop was cheered every step of the way by an adoring crowd of 48, 142 — even when his double-play grounder back to Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez (0-2) scored rookie Solarte in the third inning for the first run.
Solarte, a career minor leaguer and non-roster invitee to spring training, continued a torrid start as the suspended Alex Rodriguez’s replacement at third base with a go-ahead RBI single in the fourth inning.
Playing in his first game in the Bronx, Solarte needed Jeter to tell him to wave to the Bleacher Creatures when they chanted his name during pregame roll call.
“Every day I look and Derek Jeter is playing next to me. I saw him since I was little and I could never even fathom that I would get to play with him on the same field,” Solarte said. “Every day I try to learn something from him.”
“I didn’t feel particularly sharp today, but with the help of the catcher (McCann) and the fielders I was able to go six-plus innings,” Kuroda said.
“The movement on my pitches wasn’t quite what I wanted. I just tried to be patient, keep the ball down and not walk anybody.”
Jeter was pleased with Kuroda’s impact on the game.
“(Kuroda) is a guy we like to see out there (on the mound),” Jeter said. “He throws a lot of strikes and keeps hitters off balance. He did exactly what we needed him to.”
Red Sox 5, Rangers 1
In Boston, John Lackey pitched seven strong innings and Jackie Bradley Jr. singled in two runs as the Red Sox ended a three-game losing streak with a win over Texas.
Royals 4, Rays 2
In Kansas City, Jason Vargas took a shutout into the ninth inning and Alcides Escobar hit a three-run double as the Royals beat Tampa Bay in a game that included two significant injuries.
Kansas City starter Matt Moore (0-2) came out in the fifth inning with a sore left elbow. The All-Star lefty grimaced after throwing a pitch to Norichika Aoki and was immediately removed by manager Joe Maddon.
Two innings later, Royals second baseman Omar Infante was hit in the face by a pitch from reliever Heath Bell and also left the game.
Aoki was 2-for-4 with a triple and a run scored.
Angels 9, Astros 1
In Houston, C.J. Wilson pitched eight solid innings and Howie Kendrick and Raul Ibanez each drove in three runs as Los Angeles downed the hosts.
Athletics 8, Twins 3
In Minneapolis, Yoenis Cespedes proved he can play through an injured right heel, giving Oakland a spark with a pair of RBIs that helped spoil Minnesota’s home opener.
Cardinals 5, Reds 3
In St. Louis, Michael Wacha outpitched Tony Cingrani in a rematch of young power arms and the Cardinals got a three-run double from Yadier Molina in the first to defeat Cincinnati in its NL home opener.
Brewers at Phillies — ppd.
Rockies 8, White Sox 1
In Denver, Jordan Lyles used his arm and bat to lead Colorado over Chicago in his home debut for the Rockies.
Padres at Indians — ppd.