NEW YORK (REUTERS) — Alex Rodriguez enjoyed a winning home
debut for the New York Yankees Thursday, and the All-Star had a
less familiar face to thank for that.

Javier Vazquez, who was forced to show identification to
security when he entered Yankee Stadium, pitched superbly in his
full debut for the team as New York (3-2) beat the Chicago White
Sox 3-1.

It was a perfect start by Vazquez, the 27-year-old whose
potential has been debated since his arrival from the Montreal
Expos.

The teams meet again Friday.

While 55,000 fans chanted Rodriguez’s nickname of “A-Rod” and
gave him a standing ovation before his first home at-bat, Vazquez
held the White Sox to one run on two hits over eight innings.

The right-hander struck out five and, with Jorge Posada
recording his third home run of the season, the Yankees comfortably
claimed a seventh successive victory in their home opener.

“I had to show some identification to get into the stadium,”
Puerto Rico-born Vazquez told reporters. “But I don’t mind going
under the radar. I’ve got no problem with A-Rod getting all the
attention because he’s the best player in the big leagues.”

“I just feel blessed to have had this opportunity,” he
continued. “I woke up at 5.45 this morning and couldn’t sleep
again. I was nervous, but I think I was ready. To have a start like
that is unbelievable.”

Rodriguez and Yankees manager Joe Torre sung Vazquez’s
praises.

“You wonder how you can trust someone on opening day at Yankee
Stadium,” Torre said. “Sometimes there’s caution about how a player
will handle New York, but there is something about this young
man.”

“He was excited but calm at the same time,” Torre continued. “He
has a real presence out there.”

While most expect the offense to lead the Yankees, it has been
their pitching staff who have carried them in the last two
games.

Rodriguez picked up two walks and scored a run in an otherwise
quiet display Thursday. Bernie Williams grabbed the other run as
White Sox starting pitcher Scott Schoeneweis had a mixed game.

“I find it difficult to describe the emotion of my first opening
day at Yankee Stadium,” Rodriguez said. “The only way I found to
sum it up was when one of their players asked me if playing here
for the Yankees is as good as it’s made out to be. I told him,
‘No, it’s better than that.’”