The Pittsburgh Pirates benefited from a four-run seventh inning, which included another home run from catcher Tony Sanchez, to beat the New York Yankees 6-5 Wednesday in the first official game of Spring Training.
Sanchez hit a game-tying three-run homer off of Yankees' pitcher Chris Whitley before first baseman Chris McGuiness knocked in center fielder Chris Dickerson with a single.
“What that approach allows me to do is drive fastballs the other way, and stay on the slider like I did today and drive it to left-center,” Sanchez said about hitting to opposite field. Whenever I get pull happy, or start thinking of left field, I come off balls and don’t square them up very well. If I’m thinking to the right side, it allows me to stay close, stay inside that slider, and drive it to wherever that may be.”
Sanchez, McGuiness and Andrew McCutchen all went 2-for-2, and the "Shark Tank" began 2014 allowing one run in seven innings after pitchers Francisco Liriano and Edinson Volquez allowed two runs apiece in the first two innings.
The Pirates received the rest of their offensive output in the second inning, after first baseman Gaby Sanchez scored on a Jordy Mercer single and designated hitter Andrew Lambo scored on a fielders choice involving left fielder Starling Marte. The second inning came courtesy of Yankee starter Ivan Nova, who pitched 1 1/3 innings.
The game drew 6.870 to McKechnie Field, a new record for an exhibition opener. The previous record came in 2011 in a game against the Tampa Bay Rays where 6,367 showed up to stadium that has been home to the Bucs since 1969.
The Yankees' top offseason acquisitions, catcher Brain McCann, outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and outfielder Carlos Beltran, were all in the lineup for the Bombers. McCann and left fielder Ramon Flores notched RBI singles off Liriano in the first, and Yangervis Solarte added a two-run homer off Volquez in the second.
"I mainly worked on getting good command of the fastball," Liriano said. "The other pitches come around once I get the release point for the fastball. Physically, I feel 100 percent. My arm feels great. I only worry about getting ready for Opening Day."
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