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BOS@NYY: Pineda strikes out seven in Stadium debut

NEW YORK -- The Yankees patiently waited more than two years to see Michael Pineda wearing their uniform in a home game. Finally presented with his first opportunity under the bright lights in the Bronx, the hard-throwing right-hander did not disappoint.

Making his Yankee Stadium debut, Pineda pitched into the seventh inning in a commanding seven-strikeout performance, leading the Yankees to a 4-1 victory over the Red Sox on Thursday in the first meeting between the division rivals this season.

"I'm so happy tonight," said Pineda, who walked off the field to a standing ovation. "My first win at Yankee Stadium, my first time pitching at Yankee Stadium. I'm very, very excited tonight."

There was a sprinkle of controversy to Pineda's start, as television cameras showed a substance resembling pine tar on the palm of his throwing hand, but the Red Sox never brought the issue to the attention of the umpiring crew.

Red Sox manager John Farrell learned of the issue in the fourth inning and said that the substance was gone by the time Pineda returned to the mound in the fifth. Boston's television broadcast suggested it was pine tar, an accusation that Pineda denied.

"I don't use pine tar. It's dirt," Pineda said. "I'm sweating on my hand too much in between innings."

Crew chief Brian O'Nora said that the Red Sox never brought the substance to the umpires' attention, and Boston's players generally viewed the sticky situation as a non-issue.

Designated hitter David Ortiz was much more concerned with how Pineda's electric mid-90s fastball and biting slider had blown through their lineup, saying, "Everybody uses pine tar in the league. It's not a big deal."

Backed by a four-run outburst against Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz, including rookie Dean Anna's first big league home run, Pineda did not allow a hit until the fifth inning.

He was touched only by Daniel Nava's solo homer in the seventh inning, scattering four hits with two walks in a 94-pitch outing. Coming all the way back from surgery on his right labrum, Pineda earned his first victory in the Majors since July 30, 2011, when he was pitching for the Mariners against the Rays in Seattle.

"We're really encouraged," manager Joe Girardi said. "I've said it since Spring Training: What I saw in Spring Training was a different guy, a guy that the ball was coming out [of] well. We saw that tonight. He had command of the strike zone. He threw a lot of first-pitch strikes and was ahead of hitters. He did a good job."

New York got to Buchholz for seven hits in six innings, with two of its runs unearned. Brian McCann snapped an 0-for-14 skid with an RBI single in the fourth inning as the Yankees took advantage of an error by third baseman Jonathan Herrera, who booted a ball hit by Jacoby Ellsbury to lead off the frame.

"It felt great," said McCann, who lined his hit down the right-field line. "I've been feeling good at the plate. I just haven't had the results that I'm looking for, but at the same time, I'm just keeping my same approach, and they'll start falling."

A second run scored when Alfonso Soriano grounded into a double play, and in the fifth, Anna collected his first homer with a one-out shot to right field.

"It's kind of like, 'Am I really running around these bases right now?'" Anna said. "It was a great feeling. I'm just happy to get the win. That's really what it's about around here. It feels really good to hit a homer in Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox."

New York added one more run, as Derek Jeter belted a two-out double to right field and scored on an Ellsbury single. That was enough support for Pineda, whom Jeter saw often while they were both rehabbing last year at the team's complex in Tampa, Fla.

"He's a legitimate power pitcher, and he's a strikeout pitcher," Jeter said. "He throws like this and he's going to be tough to beat, I don't care what team he's throwing against."

Pineda said that his changeup felt "outstanding," but Girardi saw signs of fatigue in the seventh inning, prompting the Yankees to proceed cautiously with a bullpen that has been worked heavily in the season's first 10 games.

Unable to call upon Shawn Kelley or Adam Warren because of overuse, Girardi clapped as lefty Cesar Cabral struck out both men he faced in the seventh and then handed the ball to David Phelps, who retired all seven batters he faced -- with three strikeouts -- to log his first career save.

"It feels great," Phelps said. "Any time you can get a first -- as long as it's a good first -- it's always exciting. It's a testament to the guys we have in our bullpen. We have guys that throw strikes."

The Yankees improved to 2-2 on their current homestand, with three games remaining against the Red Sox before an off-day on Monday.

"It's a long series, four games, and we just want to continue to play well," Jeter said. "It starts with our pitching staff, and another great outing from Pineda, and Phelps came in and closed the game out. Our pitching staff deserves all the credit tonight." Comments