Pineda gives up homer, Yankees rally in 9th for win
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner will do whatever it takes to improve the pace of the games - even climb an outfield wall to retrieve a teammate's glove.
Gardner climbed the 8-foot wall at Steinbrenner Field to get Chris Young's glove after he lost it trying to catch a home run hit by Astros designated hitter Chris Carter in the first inning of the Yankees' 3-2 win Saturday.
''We're trying to work on the pace of the game in spring training and Chris Young said `You think I should jump over there','' Gardner said. ''And I said, `If you're not going to I am, otherwise we'll be waiting 10 minutes for someone to go all the way around and get your glove.' The fence wasn't that high. It's not like I was jumping over the Green Monster. But if I didn't go get the glove we'd still be in the eighth inning.''
Gardner also decided to grab the ball.
''I actually didn't even think about the ball but it was lying right next to the glove,'' Gardner said. ''I wanted to throw the ball back to second base but I didn't have room between the batters' eye and the fence so I just tossed it back over.''
Yankees manager Joe Girardi tried to remain light hearted about Gardner's efforts but with the team's recent injury history it was a tense moment.
''I told him this isn't Little League,'' Girardi said. ''I was sending Tyler Austin's glove out and there he went. He said he was just trying to speed up the game but we've seen guys hit a home run and jump on the plate and break an ankle. (Gardner) thought he was in the movie ''The Sandlot'' or something. I'm just happy he didn't get hurt.''
Yankees starter Michael Pineda settled down after giving up the home run to Carter and struck out six over 3 2-3 innings. Pineda threw 58 pitches and 42 strikes in his third start of the spring.
''I had a little trouble in the first but I made the adjustments and got my pitches down,'' Pineda said. ''I felt very strong (Saturday) and I'm happy with that.''
Yankees relievers Justin Wilson, Andrew Miller, Andrew Bailey, Nick Rumbelow and Jacob Lindgren gave up just one hit and struck out eight over the final 5 1-3 innings.
Astros starter Dallas Keuchel also looked strong in his third Grapefruit League start. He gave up four hits and struck out three on 58 pitches (41 strikes) in 4 1-3 innings.
Earlier in the week the Astros named Keuchel their opening-day starter.
''I think I said I took a step back last start but I took two steps forward this one,'' Keuchel said. ''I had a few mechanical issues my last start and I was all over the place but (Saturday) I was really able to establish the fastball early.''
Right-hander Mark Appel, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft, struck out two and gave up a walk in three scoreless innings for the Astros.
Astros: Keuchel said he has two more starts planned in the spring and would like to get between 80-85 pitches in his next start.
Yankees: Girardi was happy with Pineda's work on his other pitches. ''He threw some really, really good changeups today,'' Girardi said. ''He was a little high but he got it under control pretty quickly.''
Astros: INF-OF Evan Gattis (wrist) is playing left field in minor leagues games but not hitting. He is doing tee and soft toss in a cage. ... LHP Brett Oberholtzer (strained left lat) will have his second bullpen Sunday or Monday. ... RHP Brad Peacock (right hip) is scheduled to pitch Monday in a minor league game.
Yankees: CF Jacoby Ellsbury (strained oblique) will not make the trip to Port St. Lucie. ... RHP Andrew Bailey pitched for the second time since having right shoulder surgery in July 2013 and struck out two in one inning. ''It was definitely fun to get back on the hill and follow up my first outing with a good second one,'' Bailey said.
Astros: RHP Roberto Hernandez, bidding for a rotation spot, goes against Pittsburgh RHP Charlie Morton in Sunday's game.
Yankees: LHP CC Sabathia (knee surgery) will make his second start Sunday against Mets RHP Matt Harvey (right elbow surgery) in a matchup of aces returning from injuries. Sabathia said there's no added significance in facing the Mets in spring training. ''It's just the next step in getting ready for the season,'' Sabathia said.
Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez got the day off. He snapped a 1-for-14 slide with his second homer in Friday's game against Detroit. Rodriguez and RF Carlos Beltran will not make the two-day East Coast swing that also includes a game Monday against Washington and instead will play in minor league games in Tampa.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch and Rodriguez were teammates on the U.S. 16-year old National Team. ''He was a monster,'' Hinch said. ''The best player on the field.''
Rodriguez, who will turn 40 in July, is back after serving a one-year drug suspension.
''He served his penalty, and we'll see what's left of a storied career,'' Hinch said. ''I'm not saying I would root for him because we play against them, but you want guys to do well when they're on the field.''