It was an Opening Day to forget for the Yankees, who dropped their first game of the 2012 season to the Rays, 7-6, thanks to a walk-off hit by Carlos Pena in the bottom of the ninth inning.
The last two regular-season losses for the Yankees have now been in walk-off fashion versus the Rays, who also beat New York 8-7 in the final game of last season on a walk-off homer by Evan Longoria in the 12th inning.
• According to the Elias Sports Bureau it was the first walk-off loss for the Yankees on Opening Day since a 1-0, 12-inning loss to Texas in 1980. Elias also tells us that the last time the Yankees blew a lead in the ninth and lost on Opening Day was way back in 1934 against the Philadelphia A's.
• Mariano Rivera showed his rare human side, blowing just his second save in 62 chances against the Rays and first since 2005. Ben Zobrist sparked Tampa Bay's rally with a triple, his second in three at-bats against Rivera. Zobrist is the only player with multiple triples against Mariano.
Grand Slam vs Yankees
Opening Day Last 90 Years
• CC Sabathia, the first Yankee to make four consecutive Opening Day starts since Mel Stottlemyre in 1967-70, struggled early on as Pena took him deep with the bases loaded in the first inning. The only other Yankee Opening Day starter to allow a grand slam was Roger Clemens in 2002 against the Orioles.
Sabathia is now 0-1 with a 7.48 ERA in four Opening Day starts for the Yankees. Only one Yankee pitcher in the last 90 seasons that made at least two Opening Day starts has a higher ERA in season openers than Sabathia – Allie Reynolds had a 7.50 ERA in two such starts.
• Raul Ibanez had an impressive debut for the Bronx Bombers, hitting a third-inning three-run homer to give the Yankees a 6-4 lead. Elias reports that Ibanez joins Roger Maris (1960) as the only Yankees to drive in four runs in their first game in pinstripes.
• Derek Jeter nearly re-wrote the Yankee record books when he stepped to the plate in the first inning. It was his 16th careeer Opening Day start, breaking a tie with Bill Dickey for second place on the Yankees all-time list and just two behind Mickey Mantle. His leadoff single was his 14th one-bagger on Opening Day, one shy of the record also held by Mantle.