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08/29/2007 6:27 PM ET
Trio blasts GCL Yanks to Game 1 victory
Rodriguez, Castro, Rufino go yard in 11-4 rout of Dodgers
Kelvin Castro cranked the second of three Yankees home runs to take the Finals opener. (Jerry Hale/


Gerardo Rodriguez, Kelvin Castro and Wady Rufino homered as the Yankees defeated the Dodgers, 11-4, in Game 1 of the Gulf Coast League Finals on Wednesday.

Rodriguez's three-run dinger capped a four-run third inning, and gave the Yankees the lead for good. Castro smacked a two-run shot in the fifth, and Rufino's blast in the eighth capped the game's scoring.

Zoila Almonte hit a two-RBI double in the sixth and Walter Ibarra went 4-for-5 for the Yankees. Nineteen-year-old Ibarra also contributed two run-scoring hits in Tuesday's one-game playoff win over the Twins and is batting .857 over six postseason at-bats.

The Dodgers took an early lead with two first-inning runs. Joseph Becker singled to lead off the game, and he scored when catcher Jesus Montero made a throwing error on Lyndon Poole's sacrifice bunt attempt. Poole made it to second on the play, and he later scored on Alfredo Silverio's sacrifice fly.

Becker hit a solo homer in the fifth, and Kyle Orr contributed an RBI single in the sixth.

Justin Segal (1-0) came on in relief of starter Manuel Barreda and earned the win, yielding a run over 1 2/3 innings. Link Saunders tossed a scoreless seventh, and Michael Hyde closed out the game with two shutout frames.

Daigoro Rondon (0-1) took the loss, allowing six runs on nine hits over five innings. Eric Thompson yielded four runs -- three earned -- over two innings, while Jesus Gomez surrendered Rufino's dinger in the eighth before hurling a scoreless ninth.

Game 2 of the best-of-3 series is scheduled for 12 p.m. ET on Thursday afternoon. Game 3, if necessary, will follow immediately afterward.

Benjamin Hill is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.