Published April 07, 2014
(SportsNetwork.com) - For a franchise that has countless special moments, Derek Jeter running onto the field in his final home opener at Yankee Stadium may rank near the top.
Jeter and the Yankees get the home portion of their slate started on Monday with the first of three games against the Baltimore Orioles in the Bronx.
"I can't tell you what's going to happen," Jeter said of the fans' reaction. "Fans have always treated me good throughout my career. I don't know what it's going to feel like, what the atmosphere will be like. I hope we have good weather, but I have no idea."
Jeter, whose parents will be in attendance, is expected to be part of the pregame festivities along with his other "Core Four" mates - Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada. Rivera and Pettitte are scheduled to throw out the pitches to Jeter and Posada.
"It almost doesn't feel like the season is underway until you get to your home opener," Jeter said. "Especially missing last year, I'm looking forward to this one."
The Yankees return home after splitting a six-game road trip to start the year.
New York, though, closed out the trek in winning fashion on Sunday, as Brett Gardner ignited a three-run first inning and capped a three-run fourth with a two-run homer, leading the Yankees to a 6-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
Gardner hit New York's first home run of the year. The five-game homerless stretch to start a season was the longest for the Yankees since the 1990 team went the first seven games without a long ball.
"I think if you were to take a poll, (Gardner) wouldn't be the first guy chosen (to homer)," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "It's good to get it out of the way."
Getting the call for New York on Monday will be righty Hiroki Kuroda, who turned in a quality start but took the loss in Wednesday's start against the Astros. Kuroda gave up a pair of runs and three hits in six innings of that one. He also struck out five and walked a batter.
Kuroda has faced the Orioles six times and is 2-3 with a 3.20 ERA.
Baltimore, meanwhile, snapped a four-game losing streak and handed Detroit its first loss of the season Sunday, as Chris Tillman outdueled Tigers' ace Justin Verlander in the O's 3-1 triumph at Comerica Park.
Adam Jones hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the eighth inning, and Matt Wieters provided insurance with a ninth-inning home run off Detroit reliever Al Alburquerque.
"Our offense came up big late in the game," Tillman said.
Baltimore will hand the ball to righty Ubaldo Jimenez on Monday, as he tries to bounce back from a rough Orioles debut. Jimenez absorbed the loss to Boston, as he gave up four runs and five hits in six innings.
Jimenez is just 1-3 lifetime versus the Yankees with a 6.45 ERA in four starts.
New York narrowly won the season series a year ago, 10-9.