NEW YORK (AP) -Andy Pettitte hit the corners, Derek Jeter homered into the right-center field stands, Jorge Posada rambled into second base for a double. And for good measure, Mariano Rivera closed it out with a cutter.
Don't tell the Yankees' core four it's 2010.
The longtime All-Stars each picked up World Series ring No. 5, then led New York to a victory in its home opener Tuesday, 7-5 over the Los Angeles Angels in front of a record crowd that included owner George Steinbrenner.
``Everyone talks about how long we've been here but in our minds it seems like we are just still little kids,' said Jeter, the AL Rookie of the Year in 1996. ``We want to come out here and contribute and try and be consistent. That's what we tried to do throughout the years and that'll never change.'
The Angels' Hideki Matsui might have gotten the loudest ovation of the stirring ceremony that celebrated the Yankees' 27th title, with fans welcoming back the World Series MVP. But the four stars who last won a title in 2000 wound up winners in the end.
``They all played big roles last year, as well,' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. ``Andy won the last game at the Stadium last year and won the first one this year - pretty fitting. Derek had some big hits, Jorgie. Mo closed it out. It is appropriate.'
With the 2009 World Series banner whipping in a chilly breeze, Pettitte (1-0) returned to the Yankee Stadium mound for the first time since he won the clinching Game 6 against Philadelphia last November. He threw 100 pitches in six crisp innings as the Yankees dropped the Angels to 2-6, their worst start since 1972.
The 40-year-old Rivera was needed to earn his third save after another ex-Yankee, Bobby Abreu, hit a grand slam in the ninth off Dave Robertson to make it 7-5.
``Obviously we did too many things poorly early in the game and had to crawl our way back and it was too little too late,' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ``There's definitely some things we need to clean up the way we're playing ball this week.'
Matsui was mobbed by his former teammates near the mound after getting his ring in the pregame festivities. He was regaled with a prolonged standing salute when he stepped into the batter's box in the first inning.
``I was very deeply moved by that moment. It's something that I did not anticipate at all,' he said through a translator. ``It's something that I will remember forever, that moment. I'm just very happy and very thankful, the way that the fans had welcomed me back.'
The Angels' designated hitter stepped out and tipped his helmet before striking out - another cheer - to end the inning and got tangled with Posada, who playfully tagged him a couple of times. Matsui went 0 for 5 in front of a record regular-season crowd of 49,293 at the ballpark, now in its second year.
``The fans wanted him to tip his hat. I just felt he deserved that so I stepped off the mound,' Pettitte said. ``As soon as he steps in the box, it's just put your head down. You better make good pitches to him.'
Jeter, who led off the Yankees' last regular-season home game with a home run, hit his first homer of the year in the fourth and hit a sharp grounder off Ervin Santana's thigh for another RBI in the fifth.
Nick Johnson also homered for New York, who hit a team-record 136 homers in their first year at the ballpark. The most home runs across 161st Street, now a fading memory - thanks to a wrecking crew - was 126 in 2004 and '05.
Johnson homered off Santana (0-2) in his first at-bat in pinstripes since 2003, when he was traded to Montreal during the offseason, helping the Yankees win for the 12th time in the last 13 home openers. They were routed by Cleveland in the first game at the new stadium on April 16, 2009.
Alex Rodriguez received his first World Series ring and later drove in two runs with a three-hop single off reliever Jason Bulger that nicked diving third baseman Brandon Wood's glove in the sixth to make it 5-0. Posada drove in a run, too.
Pettitte became the first pitcher in postseason history to start and win all three clinching games, including Game 6 of the ALCS against the Angels, and he began this season in equally fine fashion. He allowed a run and six hits against Boston in his first start and shut down the Angels' speedy offense for his 230th career win.
``Pressure-wise I almost felt more pressure than a World Series game - because unless it's a Game 6 or a Game 7 - you know you have another game,' Pettitte said. ``This was just a special day, for the organization, for the fans and for our team. You want to win it.'
He scattered five hits, walked three and struck out six before giving way to Chan Ho Park for the seventh. Kendry Morales hit a drive into the second deck in right field off Park in the eighth to make it 5-1.
NOTES: Angels RHP Bobby Cassevah was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake after the game. A corresponding move will be made Wednesday. It could be Angels reserve OF Reggie Willits, who has been out with a strained hamstring. ... LHP Scott Kazmir (hamstring) had a bullpen session Monday and will start against New York on Thursday. ... Posada hit his 345th double, passing Mickey Mantle for seventh on the Yankees all-time list. ... Longtime Yankees trainer Gene Monahan, who has been out while undergoing treatment for a serious illness, received his ring. Players and staff hugged him and fans gave Monahan a warm reception. ``The toughest ring I gave out was probably the first one, to Geno, knowing what he's going through, it was really emotional,' Girardi said, his voice cracking.
The Associated Press News Service
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