Bronx, NY – Robinson Cano swatted a go-ahead three-run homer in the fourth inning that lifted the New York Yankees to a 4-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks in the opener of a three-game interleague series from Yankee Stadium.
Ivan Nova and four relievers successfully protected the lead after Cano's fourth long ball in six games, with Mariano Rivera throwing a perfect ninth to nail down the save in a matchup where both teams honored Jackie Robinson Day by wearing the number 42 on all players' jerseys.
Rivera, of course, is the only remaining active player still donning the number since it was retired throughout all of Major League Baseball in 1997. The Yankee closer announced prior to the season that he will retire at the campaign's conclusion.
Cano finished 2-for-4 and Nova (1-1) held Arizona to two runs while striking out six over the first five innings to help New York to its sixth win in seven games following a 1-4 season start.
"(Cano) got going and we got going as a team," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It seemed like when he started to get hot, our offense took off."
Arizona starter Brandon McCarthy (0-2), meanwhile, labored through four innings in which the right-hander permitted three runs on nine hits and threw 102 pitches.
Cody Ross went 2-for-4 with an RBI single to pace Arizona, which entered the set having won three of its last four outings.
With the Yankees down 2-0, Lyle Overbay and Chris Stewart opened the bottom of the fourth with consecutive singles before Cano clocked McCarthy's full-count offering deep into the bleachers in right center two batters later to send New York in front.
"I felt (McCarthy) had a good feeling for the changeup and I just called it and I never second guessed myself," Arizona catcher Miguel Montero said of the pitch Cano clubbed over the wall. "It was just a bad pitch. That's it."
The Yankees made the lead hold up with a combined effort from the pitching staff, as Arizona had just one man reach base against the tandem of Nova and relievers Boone Logan and Joba Chamberlain over the fifth through seventh frames.
New York then gained a little breathing room in the bottom of the seventh. Kevin Youkilis greeted the Diamondbacks' Brad Ziegler with a single, took third on Travis Hafner's double to right, and came around on an Eduardo Nunez sacrifice fly for a 4-2 score.
David Robertson and Rivera kept Arizona's bats silent over the final two innings, with the latter retiring the side in order in the ninth for career save No. 611.
McCarthy worked out of a bases-loaded jam by getting Youkilis to bounce out to end the second, and Arizona moved ahead by putting up a pair of runs in its half of the third.
After singles by Gerardo Parra and Paul Goldschmidt around a walk to Martin Prado filled the sacks with none out, Montero lofted a fly ball to center to plate the game's first run and Ross followed with a single to left that brought home Prado.
The Diamondbacks placed second baseman Aaron Hill on the 15-day disabled list prior to the game after an MRI taken Monday revealed the 2012 NL Silver Slugger winner had fractured his left hand last week. Rookie infielder Didi Gregorius (elbow) was activated from the 15-day DL to fill the roster spot ... Cano is now batting .500 (13-for-26) with four homers, 11 RBI and seven runs scored over his last six games ... The Diamondbacks fell to 3-10 all-time against the Yankees in interleague play, which includes a 1-6 mark in games held in New York ... Nova moved to 5-1 in nine career interleague starts ... Arizona hosted Baylor star Brittney Griner, selected by the Phoenix Mercury with the No. 1 overall pick in Monday's WNBA Draft, at the game.