NEW YORK — Fans loudly chanted the names of starters in the first inning, waiting for each to acknowledge the salute. Only it was a contingent of Los Angeles Dodgers fans in the left-field corner, not the Yankee Stadium Bleacher Creatures.
“It’s always fun when you hear that call go through everybody,” Dodgers rookie Corey Seager said. “That’s always exciting. It was cool.”
Seager singled twice and drove in a run on the former field of his childhood hero, Derek Jeter, and fellow rookie Jose De Leon won in his second big league start to help the NL West-leading Dodgers beat the AL wild-card chasing Yankees 8-2 in Monday’s series opener.
Los Angeles (81-62) reopened a four-game lead over second-place San Francisco, which lost to San Diego. After the game, the Dodgers saluted their traveling fans.
“That energy picked us up a lot,” manager Dave Roberts said. “We might have caught the Yankees fans off-guard a little bit.”
Dodgers fans unfurled a large blue-and-white “LA” banner over their heads in the manner of soccer supporters in the third, prompting boos from the majority of the crowd of 32,058, and they raised a second banner during the seventh-inning stretch. The group calls itself Pantone 294 — named after the Dodgers’ official color — and arrived from the West Coast on six flights, according to its website.
Seager said a Roll Call isn’t as effective at Dodger Stadium, known for late-arriving fans battling traffic.
“It doesn’t always work at home,” he said. “They kind of stopped halfway through, but that one was loud.”
De Leon (2-0), a 24-year-old right-hander from Puerto Rico, beat San Diego at home on Sept. 4 in big league debut, the 15th starting pitcher used by the Dodgers this season. A Boston Red Sox fan in his youth, De Leon allowed two runs and three hits in five innings.
“It was electric, everything I expected,” he said. “I was actually a little more nervous than I was in LA. Since I grew up a Red Sox fan I really wanted to beat the Yankees.”
Aaron Judge dropped Chase Utley’s fly ball to the right-field warning track in the second and catcher Gary Sanchez threw wildly to second base in the third, the errors leading to four unearned runs and a 6-1 lead. Yasiel Puig pinch hit in the eighth and drove an opposite-field home run over the right-field short porch, and Justin Turner homered to nearly the same spot in the ninth, his 27th this season.
Dodgers-Yankees is among baseball’s most prestigious interleague matchups, with New York winning eight of 11 World Series meetings. The Dodgers, who left Brooklyn for Los Angeles after the 1957 season, made their only prior regular-season trip to Yankee Stadium in 2013, splitting a doubleheader.
Seager remembered all the times Jeter was saluted in the Roll Call.
“I see it from both sides,” he said. “As a fan you don’t like seeing the other team do it, but being out there and your team doing it is also really cool. So I’m kind of stuck in the middle on that one.”
Roberts was at Yankee Stadium for the first time since the 2004 AL Championship Series at the old ballpark. With the Yankees ahead 3-0 in the series and leading Boston 4-3 in the ninth inning of Game 4 at Fenway Park, Roberts pinch ran and stole second. Bill Mueller following with a tying single off Mariano Rivera, the Red Sox won in 12 innings and went on to take the pennant. “I’m not well received at the airport when I make my way into New York-LaGuardia, JFK,” Roberts said.
Adrian Gonzalez was the Dodgers’ DH, and Andre Ethier and Turner are scheduled for DH days during the remainder of the series.
Puig has three homers in 14 at-bats since his return from the minors.
Dodgers: LHP Rich Hill, removed from Saturday’s start at Miami after seven perfect innings and 89 pitches, is to start Thursday’s series opener at Arizona. Roberts took Hill out for fear a blister issue on his pitching hand could recur.
LHP Julio Urias (5-3) starts for the Dodgers on Tuesday and LHP CC Sabathia (8-12) for the Yankees. Urias, 20, is 4-0 with a 1.44 ERA in his last five games (four starts). He lasted just 2 2/3 innings in his big league debut at Citi Field in May.