In Bradenton, Florida, the New York Yankees dropped the opener to their Grapefruit slate to the Pittsburgh Pirates by a score of 6-5. This was a game where both managers played a lot of their opening day starters for half the game. Plus, both starters (Ivan Nova and Francisco Liriano) that threw in the game today are mainstays in the rotation.
The Yankees led for the bulk of the game until Pirates’ catcher Tony Sanchez hit a game-tying three run homer in the bottom of the 7th inning off of Chase Whitley. Pittsburgh would score the winning run in the same inning on a RBI single by Chris McGuiness to score former Yankees’ Chris Dickerson.
Nova started off the action by going 1.1 inning, giving up two runs on two hits. He walked two and struck out one. He faced a Pirates’ lineup that had most of its regulars, including NL MVP Andrew McCutchen. Nova left the game in the second inning with runners on first and second. Bruce Billings would come in and give up those runs on a RBI single by Jordy Mercer and Starling Marte reaching on the error by Yangervis Solarte.
Dellin Betances brought his control to the party as he threw two scoreless inning while striking out a better. Preston Claiborne and Cesar Cabral pitched a combined two scoreless inning, giving up three hits, and striking out three.
The offense got off to a solid note early in the game due to the presence of the three newcomers in the Yankees’ lineup. Jacoby Ellsbury reached base in all three at-bats. He had a walk in each of the first two innings and singled in the 5th inning. Brian McCann ripped a RBI single in the 1st inning to score Ellsbury to put the Yankees on the board. Most of the at-bats in the first inning against Liriano were first pitch swings.
Later in the 1st inning, Ramon Flores drove in Solarte with a RBI single right after McCann. Flores now has two RBI’s in the first two games. Despite committing a fielding error at shortstop in the second inning, Solarte shone with the bat as he singled in the first inning and hit a two-run homer in the second inning off of Edinson Volquez. This gave the Yankees a 4-0 lead. The other Yankees’ run was produced via a RBI double by Mason Williams in the 7th inning.
These two teams will play at Steinbrenner Field tomorrow afternoon at 1:05 PM ET. The Yankees will be able to be watched on your television LIVE for the first time in 2014 on the YES Network. Two things to keep an eye on for this game is the spring training opener for Derek Jeter and the spring opener for David Phelps, as he makes his first case for that number five spot in the rotation.