Weather keeps balls inside Stadium
For just the second time this year, no homers at new ballpark
NEW YORK -- A game-time temperature of 45 degrees brought about some rare sights at Yankee Stadium.
The Bombers' Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher wore baseball caps with earflaps. Angels shortstop Erick Aybar wore a hood that covered his ears, and Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano wore a full-fledged ski mask.
But the weather's most noticeable effect could have been what it helped take away: home runs.
For only the second time in 84 regular-season and playoff games at the new Yankee Stadium, no balls left the yard, as the Yankees defeated the Angels, 4-1, in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.
"It was about as cold as it gets," said Yankees starter CC Sabathia, who pitched eight innings of one-run ball. "I pitched in a couple of games where it snowed in Cleveland. But it was pretty nasty today."
"The weather is obviously great this time of year," Yankees left fielder Johnny Damon joked. "The wind was playing havoc on a few balls out there."
The flag above the left-field bleachers blew toward home plate throughout the game. The postseason bunting that ringed the stadium rustled in the stiff breeze. Few balls appeared to even have a chance to go out.
Angels designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero's long drive in the fourth turned into a double when it bounced in front of the left-center-field fence. Cano flirted with a homer in the sixth but saw his arcing shot caught on the warning track in right field.
"I think Vladdy crushed that ball to left-center, and that didn't get out," Teixeira said. "When it's cold like this, when the wind's blowing in, you're not going to get much out."
"If someone was going to hit one to left field tonight, you had to get it right down the line," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "That thing was squaring up really well. That wind was really pushing everything back. That ball to left field, you were going to have to kill it to get it out of there."
The Yankees (244) and Angels (173) combined to hit 417 homers in the regular season. Of those Yankees long balls, 136 came in the Bronx during the regular season.
The only other homerless game in the inaugural season of Yankee Stadium came on June 18, when the Nationals visited.
But the Yankees have proven that they can score without hitting the ball out of the ballpark. Some alert baserunning -- and some help from the Angels -- helped lead to their runs Friday.
"As far as running the bases, we have more speed this year," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We have options to go to if we need to steal a base late in the games. And I think that can play a real important role. Our baserunning has been very good all year long, too, as well."
The same wind that hurt the chances of a homer may have helped the Yankees score their second run. Damon scored from second when Angels third baseman Chone Figgins and shortstop Aybar let a Hideki Matsui popup fall for an RBI single.
"We had some plays there that I don't think you're going to be able to attribute it to the weather," Scioscia said. "Just the miscommunication on a popup."
If the Yankees can keep winning with the wind blowing in, they'll take the humorous visuals that come along with it.
"I was wearing the Elmer Fudd [hat] for the first time in my career," Teixeira said. "I was getting a little ribbing myself, but I had a few guys along with me."
Thomas Boorstein is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.