Final

Series: Game 1 of 3

NY Yankees leads 1-0 (as of 3/31)

Game 1: Monday, March 31
NY Yankees8Final
Toronto4
Game 2: Tuesday, April 1
NY Yankees10Final
Toronto1
Game 3: Wednesday, April 2
NY Yankees9Final
Toronto7

Yankees 8

(1-0, 1-0 away)

Blue Jays 4

(0-1, 0-1 home)

    7:05 PM ET, March 31, 2003

    Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario 

    123456789 R H E
    NYY 100205000 8 7 0
    TOR 000000022 4 9 0

    W: R. Clemens (1-0)

    L: R. Halladay (0-1)

    Soriano hits grand slam in Yankees' painful win

    TORONTO (AP) -- The season wasn't even three innings old and the New York Yankees were gathered around leader Derek Jeter, who was writhing on the ground with a dislocated left shoulder.

    Hideki Matsui

    Hideki Matsui has just 16 home runs, but does lead the Yankees with 99 RBI.

    All the optimism of Opening Day quickly turned to worry as the Yankees began thinking about what it would be like to play without the heart and soul of their team.

    "It got really tough," center fielder Bernie Williams said. "Obviously, he's one of our best players. He'll be missed. The people who will play for him have to pick up the slack. It's going to be tough. It won't be impossible."

    Jeter's injury overshadowed what was otherwise a successful opener for the Yankees. Hideki Matsui got his first hit, Roger Clemens won his 294th game and Alfonso Soriano hit his first career grand slam in an 8-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night.

    "It was a good game for us, but we can't enjoy it as much as we like," manager Joe Torre said. "A lot of good things happened, but it's tough when you lose someone like Jeter."

    Jeter will go on the 15-day disabled list and could be sidelined for at least a month, Torre said. The extent of the injury wasn't immediately clear and Jeter was scheduled for an MRI on Tuesday.

    "It's going to be a while," Jeter said. "This isn't getting hit by a pitch or spraining an ankle. Hopefully, there's nothing wrong."

    Jeter was injured in the third inning when Toronto catcher Ken Huckaby landed on his shoulder during a frightening play at third base.

    Jeter was down for more than 10 minutes. He was helped onto a cart by trainers Gene Monahan and Steve Donohue, strapped in place sitting upright and taken off the field -- his head bent, his face dripping with sweat.

    After the shoulder was popped back in place, Jeter was taken to a hospital for X-rays.

    "It hurts. I can't really describe it," Jeter said. "When it happened, I was kind of scared. I didn't know what happened. The worst part is getting it back in."

    The five-time All-Star has been the Yankees' leader during their run of four World Series titles and five AL pennants since 1996.

    The Yankees are already playing without injured closer Mariano Rivera and setup man Steve Karsay. Now, they're missing Jeter.

    "We can't feel sorry for ourselves, because nobody else is going to feel sorry for us," Torre said. "We've got to find ways to get it done and I think we will. We're going to have to play without Derek Jeter. It's not something we'd like to do, but it's something we have to do."

    The Yankees will recall Erick Almonte from Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday. Torre told backup infielder Enrique Wilson that Almonte will get most of the playing time while Jeter is out.

    Jeter's injury was the only thing that went wrong as the Yankees began their 100th anniversary season with their first opener outside the United States.

    Matsui drove in the first run with a single in his first at-bat since coming over from Japan. Robin Ventura hit a two-run homer in the fourth and Soriano's slam capped a five-run sixth that knocked out Roy Halladay.

    That was more than enough for Clemens, who allowed three hits in six scoreless innings to move within six wins of 300.

    Jeter was hurt when he tried to go from first to third on Jason Giambi's comebacker with Toronto's defense shifted to the right side of the infield.

    Huckaby ran up the line to field first baseman Carlos Delgado's throw. Jeter dived headfirst into the bag, and Huckaby fell, his shin guard driving into Jeter's shoulder.

    "At the time, I was upset about it," Yankees infielder Todd Zeile said. "I thought it was a little bit overboard. It seemed like he stayed on him and drove him into the ground. After seeing it again, it looked a little bit more benign."

    Wilson called it a "dirty play." Huckaby left a message for Jeter on his cell phone after the game to apologize.

    "I didn't mean for things to go down the way they went down," Huckaby said. "By no means was I trying to hurt anybody on that play. It was one of those freak things."

    Before the injury, much of the focus was on Matsui, whose every step has been chronicled by a horde of Japanese journalists.

    As fans watched on television back in Japan, where it was just after 9 a.m. Tuesday, Matsui came up with runners on first and third and two outs in the first. He hit a hard grounder through the left side of the infield to score Jeter.

    "I was a little bit nervous," Matsui said through an interpreter. "To get that first hit was a relief."

    Matsui, who hit 332 homers in 10 seasons with the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants, finished 1-for-4.

    Cuban defector Jose Contreras, the Yankees' other big international acquisition, allowed two runs over 1 2/3 innings in his debut. He struck out the side in his first inning of relief.

    Halladay allowed eight runs -- three earned -- in 5 2/3 innings. Second baseman Orlando Hudson's error keyed the five-run sixth.

    Game notes


    The only other Yankees to hit slams in openers are Russ Derry (1945) and Bobby Murcer (1981). ... The crowd of 50,119 cheered the U.S. national anthem and "God Bless America." One fan held a banner during the seventh-inning stretch that read "All Bless Iraq."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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