By Jay Jaffe
April 29, 2014

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On a chilly night in the Bronx, Robinson Cano got the cold shoulder from Yankees fans. In his first game back at Yankee Stadium since signing a 10-year, $240 million deal with the Mariners, the 31-year-old second baseman — sporting a beard that he never could have worn while wearing the pinstripes — received more boos than cheers from a crowd thinned out by rain and temperatures in the 40s. The Yankee brass gave him a cool reception as well, forgoing the opportunity to play a highlight video of the five-time All-Star who helped them win the 2009 World Series.

Batting third for the Mariners, Cano stepped in against former teammate CC Sabathia in the first inning. As you can see above, some fans stood and cheered him in recognition of his contributions to the team for whom he played — and generally starred — from 2005 through 2013. Others gave him the ol' Bronx cheer for spurning the team's seven-year, $175 million offer in favor of even bigger money from the Mariners. To the delight of the home crowd, he struck out on four pitches, the last one an 89 mph sinker that was inside.

Though he grounded out on the first pitch he saw to lead off the fourth inning, Cano found more success later in the game. With the Mariners down 2-0 but having opened the fifth with three straight singles — starting with an infield one by Mike Zunino that was originally called an out but overturned via instant replay — Cano followed a Stefen Romero strikeout by driving in their first run with  a groundout to first base. Corey Hart immediately followed with a two-run double into the left centerfield, then came around to score on Justin Smoak's single, giving Seattle a 4-2 lead.

With Sabathia gone in favor of Dellin Betances, Cano beat out an infield single to third to lead off the seventh inning. He stole second, and after Hart and Smoak both struck out, scored on Dustin Ackley's single; the Mariners would tack on another run to make it 6-2. He concluded his night by striking out on four pitches against Preston Claiborne to end the eighth inning, the last of which was a failed attempt at a check-swing on a slider in the dirt; ultimately, the K was an act of mercy on the fans who stuck around given the increasingly heavy rainfall. As conditions worsened, closer Fernando Rodney gave up a run but prevented a bigger rally to preserve a 6-3 win.

The 1-for-5 showing dropped Cano's batting line to .296/.346/.378, but the win lifted the Mariners' record to 11-14. They have won four of their last five. The Yankees' loss dropped their record to 15-11, still good enough for first in the AL East.

For the night at least, Cano got the last laugh, just as he did the day before when he teamed up with The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to pull a prank on jilted Yankee fans. Given the opportunity to boo a giant cardboard likeness of him in his new Mariners uniform, they did so with zeal, only to be startled when Cano emerged from behind the display to shake hands, hug, and generally make light of the silliness of it all:


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