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N.Y. Yankees (2-1) «00000201x361

Solid outing from pitching staff propels Yankees past Blue Jays

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- All those big sluggers in the lineup, and the New York Yankees are scratching out offense with bunts and bloopers so far.

Bobby Abreu's soft single broke an eighth-inning tie, and New York got a solid outing from Phil Hughes in a 3-2 victory against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night.

After scoring 76 more runs than any other team in the major leagues last season, the Yankees managed only eight in their first three games against a fine Toronto pitching staff. Still, that was enough to take two of three in the series.

"Those little things (are) what's going to help us," Abreu said. "We don't have to just wait for a homer -- especially in this weather."

Joba Chamberlain (1-0) worked a scoreless inning and Mariano Rivera got three outs for his second save.

With the score tied at 2 on a 42-degree night, Melky Cabrera opened the eighth with a single off Brian Wolfe (0-1). Scott Downs bobbled Johnny Damon's sacrifice bunt for an error that allowed Damon to reach safely, and Derek Jeter advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt.

Abreu then blooped a single into center for his first RBI, making him 5-for-10 on the year.

"I think we're a lot smarter," Damon said. "We need to keep doing the manufacturing, and it could be a bit different this year. We know what we have to do. We've got to win as many games as possible and if it means we have to bunt, then so be it."

Toronto put a runner on second with one out in the ninth, but Rivera retired Lyle Overbay and struck out Aaron Hill to end it.

"It was just like the first game here. Tight ballgame. You've got to be able to win some of them. I thought we left all those tight games behind us last year, but I guess not," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "We just didn't make a play on that one bunt play."

The Blue Jays play their home opener Friday night, with Shaun Marcum on the mound against Boston knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.

Dustin McGowan kept the Yankees scoreless until the sixth, when they loaded the bases with none out. Damon dashed home on a wild pitch before Alex Rodriguez struck out, and Jason Giambi's sacrifice fly tied it at 2.

A 12-game winner last season, McGowan returned to the team hotel Wednesday because he wasn't feeling well -- perhaps a 24-hour stomach bug, Gibbons said.

But the 26-year-old right-hander, a member of Toronto's opening-day roster for the first time this season, looked plenty strong while going pitch-for-pitch with Hughes in a matchup of promising youngsters.

"I pitched against him a couple times in Triple-A. He's a good pitcher," McGowan said. "We'll have a lot more duels I think."

The 21-year-old Hughes, the youngest pitcher in the majors, featured a sharp curveball in his first outing of the season. He and McGowan both allowed two runs and four hits in six innings, with four strikeouts apiece.

"Phil Hughes was ready when he got to camp, and he wanted to grab a hold of this role," manager Joe Girardi said.

The Yankees are counting heavily this season on three pitchers 23 or younger: Hughes, Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy, who starts Friday night against Tampa Bay.

"I think a lot of our season depends on how well we pitch, not just the three of us but our staff as a whole," Hughes said. "We're all going through the same thing, so it brings kind of a comfort level as well."

Asked if Hughes would be a tough act to follow, Kennedy said: "No. I'll just copy it."

Alex Rios' RBI single in the fourth extended his hitting streak against the Yankees to 23 games dating to September 2006, the longest by a player versus New York since Detroit Hall of Famer Charlie Gehringer had a 31-game run from 1935-36, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

David Eckstein added an RBI infield single with two outs in the fifth.

Blue Jays designated hitter Frank Thomas was ejected by plate umpire Bill Miller for arguing a called third strike to end the fourth. Thomas was replaced by Shannon Stewart.

"He was giving corners all day, but that was a terrible call," Thomas said. "I don't run to first base unless I know it's a ball. The ball was way out of the strike zone."

Notes

  • Yankees C Jorge Posada (stiff right shoulder) was held out of the lineup for the second successive game, but was feeling better and could play Friday night against Tampa Bay, Girardi said.
  • Cabrera and backup 1B-OF Shelley Duncan are scheduled for appeal hearings Monday. They appealed their three-game suspensions stemming from a spring training fight between New York and Tampa Bay.
  • Matt Stairs started in LF for Toronto, his season debut. He had been slowed by a sore left hip.
  • Hughes became the youngest Yankees pitcher to start one of the first three games of a season since Hall of Famer Waite Hoyt started Game 2 in 1921, also at 21 years old.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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At 21 years old, the Yankees' Phil Hughes is the youngest pitcher in the majors.  (AP)
At 21 years old, the Yankees' Phil Hughes is the youngest pitcher in the majors. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

B. Abreu
AB 3
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
Toronto

D. Eckstein
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Toronto Blue Jays
David Eckstein, SS4121000 .154
Matt Stairs, LF4010013 .250
    Buck Coats, PR-LF0000000 .000
Alex Rios, RF4011011 .444
Vernon Wells, CF4010011 .333
Frank Thomas, DH2000011 .111
   a- Shannon Stewart, PH-DH2000000 .200
Lyle Overbay, 1B4000011 .182
Aaron Hill, 2B4000011 .250
Marco Scutaro, 3B2100100 .125
Gregg Zaun, C3010010 .333
Totals3326217  
a-grounded out for Thomas in the 6th
Batting
2B - David Eckstein (1, Hughes), Gregg Zaun (1, Hughes)
RBI - David Eckstein (1), Alex Rios (3)
2-OUT RBI - David Eckstein (1)
SB - Alex Rios (2, 3rd base off Hughes/Molina)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Alex Rios 1
DP - Eckstein-Hill-Overbay, Hill-Eckstein-Overbay, Rios-Overbay-Scutaro
E - Scott Downs (1, Throwing)
Toronto Blue Jays
Dustin McGowan 6422340 3.00
Brian Wolfe (L,0-1) 1111010 9.00
Scott Downs 1100010 0.00
HBP - Jeter (by Dustin McGowan), Giambi (by Scott Downs)
WP - Dustin McGowan (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Dustin McGowan 99-57, Brian Wolfe 11-8, Scott Downs 15-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dustin McGowan 6-5, Brian Wolfe 2-0, Scott Downs 2-1
Batters Faced - Dustin McGowan 23, Brian Wolfe 4, Scott Downs 6
New York Yankees
Johnny Damon, DH3110012 .182
Derek Jeter, SS2100001 .300
Bobby Abreu, RF3021110 .500
Alex Rodriguez, 3B4000025 .273
Jason Giambi, 1B1001100 .000
Robinson Cano, 2B4000005 .091
Hideki Matsui, LF3010021 .222
Jose Molina, C3010001 .333
Melky Cabrera, CF2110101 .375
Totals2536236  
Batting
2B - Johnny Damon (1, McGowan)
SF - Jason Giambi (1)
SH - Johnny Damon (1), Derek Jeter (1)
RBI - Bobby Abreu (1), Jason Giambi (1)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Robinson Cano (1, Missed catch of throw)
New York Yankees
Phil Hughes 6422140 3.00
Billy Traber 0.1000010 0.00
Brian Bruney 0.2000000 0.00
Joba Chamberlain (W,1-0) 1100010 0.00
Mariano Rivera (S,2) 1100010 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Phil Hughes 87-54, Billy Traber 4-3, Brian Bruney 10-5, Joba Chamberlain 11-8, Mariano Rivera 13-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Phil Hughes 7-7, Brian Bruney 1-1, Joba Chamberlain 1-1, Mariano Rivera 2-0
Batters Faced - Phil Hughes 23, Billy Traber 1, Brian Bruney 2, Joba Chamberlain 4, Mariano Rivera 4
Game Information
Attendance - 47785
Game Time - 2:45
Temperature - 42
Umpires - Home - Bill Miller, First Base - Paul Emmel, Second Base - Gary Darling, Third Base - Jerry Meals