Yankees fall to Pirates, 8-2, in Grapefruit League home opener

Derek Jeter goes 0-for-2 in spring debut, Brian Roberts 0-for-2 in Yankees debut
02/27/2014 3:55 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Both Derek Jeter and the Yankees at-large were unsuccessful in their Grapefruit League home opener.(AP)
The Yankees' Grapefruit League home opener was an unsuccessful one, the Bombers dropping an 8-2 decision to the Pirates to mark a second straight spring loss to Pittsburgh.

The game marked Derek Jeter's 2014 debut as well as Brian Roberts' debut in pinstripes, but it was a less than banner day for the Yanks' new keystone combo, as both went 0-for-2 and Jeter grounded into a 4-6-3 double play in his first at-bat of his final season.

It was a good spring debut for David Phelps, however, as the righty began his quest for a spot in the rotation by allowing one run on two hits over two innings and striking out four.

Phelps' lone blemish came very early in the outing, as he allowed a solo home run to the second batter of the game, Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco; however, he retired the next two batters, and then worked around a leadoff double in the second by retiring the next three.

The Yankees finally struck back in the fifth, as Francisco Cervelli led off with a single and Kelly Johnson plated him with a double to the gap on right-center field. One out later, Russ Canzler singled to put runners on the corners, but Mason Williams grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

The teams then traded runs in the sixth, starting when ex-Yankee Chris Dickerson rapped a one-out RBI single in the top of the frame to give Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead. The bottom of the inning saw Pirates reliever Brandon Cumpton get two quick outs, but after Adonis Garcia reached on an error, Corban Joseph drew a walk and John Ryan Murphy slashed an RBI single to left to re-tie the score at 2-2.

Things would come undone in the eighth, though, as Yankees non-roster invitee Robert Coello had a rough spring debut, allowing five runs in just one-third of an inning. Coello walked Robert Andino to open the frame, and after Chris McGuinness followed with a single, Mel Rojas Jr. then smacked a three-run homer to give Pittsburgh a 5-2 lead.

Coello would strike out Tony Sanchez but then loaded the bases ahead of a two-run single by Matt Hague that chased him from the game, but thankfully for the Yankees, Branden Pinder would come in and stop the bleeding by retiring both of the batters he faced.

The Yankees tried to mount a one-out rally in the eighth, with Brendan Ryan reaching on an error and Adonis Garcia singling off Daniel Schlereth, but Schlereth got Corban Joseph to ground into a 3-6-1 double play to end the inning. Pittsburgh added one more run in the ninth, and ex-Yankee Cody Eppley sent the Yankees down 1-2-3 to close the game out.

Overall, the Yankees rapped just six hits, including the RBI knocks by Murphy and Johnson; Brett Gardner reached in both of his plate appearances, drawing a walk and beating out an infield single, and Cervelli, Canzler, and Garcia had the Yankees' only other three hits.

On the mound, Phelps was followed by two scoreless innings from Chris Leroux, who allowed just one hit and recorded one strikeout. A pair of 2013 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, Jim Miller (1.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 H) and Yoshinori Tateyama (1.1 perfect IP, 2 K), followed Leroux, and lefty Jeremy Bleich finished out the game by allowing a run on two hits in the ninth.

With the loss, the Yankees drop to 0-2 in the Grapefruit League and 1-2 on the spring overall. They won't have to wait long for their next chance, which comes Friday afternoon in Lakeland, Fla., against the Tigers. Adam Warren is scheduled to start the 1:05 p.m. contest, with Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and Brian McCann among the notable names slated to play.

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