Yankees 7, Indians 1
CLEVELAND (AP) _ David Cone fought with his control, but limited the Cleveland Indians to two hits in seven scoreless innings as the New York Yankees beat the defending American League champions 7-1 Tuesday.
Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams homered for the Yankees, winners of five straight season openers and 10 of their last 11. The game was delayed one day by snow.
The Indians, who led the majors in runs, batting average and home runs a year ago, were held hitless until Julio Franco led off the sixth with a single. They finished with four hits.
It was the second straight weak showing by the Indians in games that counted. They were held to one hit by Atlanta’s Tom Glavine in the decisive Game 6 of the World Series last October.
Jeter, playing in his 16th big league game, hit his first career home run and also saved a run with an over-the-shoulder catch of Omar Vizquel’s pop fly behind shortstop in the seventh.
Dennis Martinez took the loss in his ninth consecutive opening day start _ six with Montreal, three with Cleveland. He allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings.
Cone struggled with his control all afternoon, walking six and frequently working from behind in the count. But he struck out four and never let a runner get to third base.
His performance for a time mirrored what Seattle’s Randy Johnson did to the Indians in the first game ever at Jacobs Field, two years ago. Johnson took a no-hitter into the eighth inning of that game before Sandy Alomar broke it up. Cleveland eventually won in extra innings.
Until Franco lined a clean single to right leading off the sixth Tuesday, the Indians didn’t come close to a hit off Cone. Alomar then doubled to right with two outs in the seventh, but Jeter chased down Vizquel’s pop fly to strand him.
Mariano Duncan singled and scored New York’s first run on Paul O’Neill’s double in the third. Jeter led off the fifth with his home run, become the first Yankee rookie to homer on opening day since Jerry Kenney in 1969.
Williams made it 5-0 with a three-run shot off Alan Embree in the eighth.
Cleveland scored on Carlos Baerga’s RBI forceout against Bob Wickman in the eighth. But the Yankees added two runs in the ninth on a single by O’Neill _ his third hit _ and a double by Ruben Sierra.
NOTES: The crowd of 42,289 was the largest ever for a regular-season game at Jacobs Field and represented the 53rd straight sellout. All of Cleveland’s home games this year are already sold out. ... Indians manager Mike Hargrove threw out the ceremonial first pitch, subbing for Dave Winfield. Winfield, who retired after spending last season with Cleveland, was to have thrown out the first pitch Monday, but had a commitment Tuesday in Seattle that kept him from staying over after snow postponed the opener. ... Owner Richard E. Jacobs handed out the Indians’ 1995 AL championship rings before the game. ... Despite the postponement, the opener was the earliest ever for both teams. The Yankees opened on April 3 in 1984, and the Indians on April 3 in 1989. ... Jeter was the sixth different starting shortstop for the Yankees in the last six openers.