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Yankees top Orioles in Pineda's first start

Right-hander's fastball velocity was up during 2 2/3 scoreless innings
03/13/2014 4:53 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

TAMPA, Fla. - Michael Pineda's fastball command wasn't as strong as it was in his first spring appearance, but his velocity was better and his results were just as good.

Pineda threw 27 of his 48 pitches for strikes and struck out five in 2 2/3 scoreless innings, and his efforts combined with a strong showing for the offense propelled a Yankees split-squad past the Orioles, 6-0, at Steinbrenner Field.

Making his second appearance but first actual start of the spring, Pineda opened with a bang by striking out Quintin Berry. He then allowed back-to-back singles, but got out of the inning on a rare double play; Alfonso Soriano tracked down Steve Pearce's smash to left, and after both catcher Brian McCann and third baseman Eduardo Nunez noticed Orioles left field Henry Urrutia missing second base while retreating after the grab, a successful appeal to second ended the inning.

From there, it was all Yankees, and they got on the board early when Brett Gardner singled, moved to second on a Derek Jeter groundout, and scored on Carlos Beltran's RBI single to make it 1-0.

They added two in the second, with Gardner hitting an RBI double and scoring when O's pitcher Bud Norris threw the ball away on Derek Jeter's comebacker, and one more in the fifth thanks to an RBI single by Soriano.

Pineda was long gone by then, but David Robertson (1/3 IP, 1 K), Matt Thornton (1/3 IP, 1 H), Bruce Billings (2 2/3 IP, 1 H, 3 K), and Chris Leroux (2 IP, 1 K) held the Orioles off the board through the eighth.

Yankees reserves tacked on two insurance runs in the bottom of the frame - with an Adonis Garcia RBI single and a double play off the bat of Jose Gil plating the pair - and Cesar Cabral struck out the side while working around a walk and a ground-rule double in the ninth to cement the victory.

Offensively, eight different Yankees totaled the team's 10 hits, with Gardner (2-for-4, RBI, 2 R) and Almonte (2-for-3) leading the way and Brian McCann drawing a pair of walks in three plate appearances.

Derek Jeter was 0-for-3 to drop his spring average to .167, but Joe Girardi said after the game that he wasn't worried about The Captain's timing being off and was more concerned with the fact that he is moving well on the field.

The win, combined with the other half of the split squad's loss in Clearwater, makes the Yankees 8-6-2 in the Grapefruit League and 9-6-2 on the spring overall. The players not going to Panama will suit up once again at Steinbrenner Field on Friday afternoon, with David Phelps to start against the Twins and full coverage beginning on YES at 1 p.m.

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