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Published: Friday, 4/17/2009

Indians spoil big day for Yankees

ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK - Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and other stars from the New York Yankees' famous pinstriped past would have been embarrassed.

After an 85-year run in a stadium that was home to 26 World Series champions, the Yankees opened baseball's fanciest and priciest ballpark yesterday with a humiliating 10-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians.

"It felt like we disappointed quite a few people today," Johnny Damon said.

Fans in the sellout crowd of 48,271 and players alike bubbled about unprecedented amenities on a picture-perfect sunny afternoon. New York's hitters then fizzled, and its bullpen came apart in the formal debut of the new Yankee Stadium, a $1.5 billion monument to the Yankees' wealth and power.

Jhonny Peralta broke a 1-all tie in the seventh with a two-run double off Jose Veras, and Grady Sizemore hit a grand slam into the right-field seats off Damaso Marte.

By the time Victor Martinez's solo homer capped the nine-run inning, angry spectators who paid up to $2,625 list per ticket taunted the Yankees with chants of, "We want Swisher!"

That was a reference to New York right fielder Nick Swisher, who pitched a scoreless inning during a blowout loss at Tampa Bay on Monday.

Cleveland, whose only Series titles were won in 1920 and 1948, enjoyed its accomplishment against a superpower whose $201 million payroll dwarfs the $82 million the Indians spent.

"To come in here and do what we did is something we'll always remember," Sizemore said.

The Yankees botched numerous chances in the first five innings, when they stranded 10 runners while going 0-for-7 with men in scoring position against Cliff Lee (1-2). The primary cheers were for Jorge Posada, who hit the first home run in the ballpark's history, a fifth-inning drive that landed in Monument Park behind center field.

CC Sabathia, pitching in pinstripes for the first time since signing a $161 million, seven-year contract, allowed an RBI double to Kelly Shoppach in the fourth just after third baseman Cody Ransom threw out Peralta at the plate on Ben Francisco's grounder. But

Sabathia left after 122 pitches and 52/3 innings in his first start against his former team.

"The park still looks kind of like the old stadium," he said. "But it's a weird feeling, too, going out, you know, it being a clean slate, a new era of Yankee baseball."

After Edwar Ramirez and Phil Coke finished the sixth, Veras (0-1) failed to retire anyone in the seventh, walking Mark DeRosa and allowing a double to Martinez before Peralta's double into the right-field corner.

Marte hit Shin-soo Choo with a pitch, loaded the bases when he fielded Francisco's sacrifice and threw too late to third, then gave up an RBI single to Shoppach and walked Trevor Crowe one out later with the bases loaded, making it 5-1.

Coming off two poor outings, Lee (1-2) allowed one run and seven hits in six innings in a matchup of the last two AL Cy Young Award winners.

"You could feel that it was not just a normal game," Lee said. "But for me, I've got to kind of filter that stuff out and focus on executing pitches."

CLEVELAND - Nate Dolin, a former vice president and part-owner of the Cleveland Indians, has died of pneumonia. Dolin, 95, who lived in suburban Lyndhurst, died Sunday.

People often confused Dolin and his son with the Indians' current leaders, Larry Dolan and his son, Paul.

Bill Veeck sold the Indians in 1949 for $2.2 million to a seven-member group including Dolin and headed by Ellis W. Ryan, and Dolin sold his share on Nov. 20, 1962, according to the Indians' team encyclopedia.



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