Yankees top Phillies on rainy day in Clearwater

Masahiro Tanaka allows one run over three innings in first spring start
03/06/2014 5:58 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Masahiro Tanaka allowed his first earned run of the spring on Thursday.(AP)
It took a couple hours longer than expected, but the New York Yankees snapped their two-game losing streak on Thursday, topping the Phillies 4-3 on a dreary, rain-soaked day in Clearwater, Fla.

Masahiro Tanaka made his first start of the spring, and he allowed one run on two hits over three innings. Tanaka was never truly in trouble, as he worked around Marlon Byrd's one-out double in the second and the lone run came when Freddy Galvis smacked a solo homer with two outs in the third inning.

Behind Tanaka, the Yankees had most of their assumed regulars in the lineup, minus two; Jacoby Ellsbury did not make the trip so Mason Williams started in center field, and Carlos Beltran, who was originally in the lineup, was scratched because of the weather and replaced by Ramon Flores.

That switch paid immediate dividends when Flores hit a solo homer in the third to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead, but the Phils answered with Galvis' homer and then took a 3-1 lead in the fifth when Carlos Ruiz and John Mayberry Jr. hit back-to-back homers off Bruce Billings.

It would be all Yankees from there, though, as Adonis Garcia's RBI single in the seventh cut the deficit to 3-2, and the Bombers added two in the eighth to re-take the lead they would never relinquish. In that frame, Jose Pirela hit a one-out RBI double to tie the game at 3-3, and Pirela ended up taking third on the throw to the plate; that would become an important play, because two batters later, Ramon Flores hit a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Pirela with what was the winning run.

Overall the Yankees had 10 hits, with Derek Jeter - whose third-inning single marked his first hit of the spring - and Kelly Johnson both going 2-for-3 to lead the team. Scott Sizemore also had a hit in his only at-bat, and Yangervis Solarte continued his hot spring with a single and a walk in three plate appearances.

It was a rough day at the plate, however, for Mark Teixeira and Alfonso Soriano, who were both making their spring debuts. Both men went 0-for-3 with Soriano striking out three times, but Teixeira affirmed afterwards that both his surgically-repaired wrist and his body felt good, so it was a positive step nonetheless.

On the mound, Billings followed Tanaka and gave up the two solo homers, but those were the only hits he allowed and he finished with three strikeouts in his two innings. Chris Leroux struck out two in his scoreless sixth, Danny Burawa - who got the win thanks to the eighth-inning outburst - pitched a scoreless seventh, and the duo of Fred Lewis and Mark Montgomery were perfect over the final two innings to close it out, with Montgomery getting the save.

The win pushes the Yankees' records to 5-4 in the Grapefruit League and 6-4 on the spring overall, and after a two-game "road trip," they will return home Friday for a date with the Tigers. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m., and Hiroki Kuroda is set to start with Michael Pineda scheduled to make his spring debut in relief.

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