In likely his final audition to be the Yankees' fifth starter, Michael Pineda wasn't as impressive as he had been in his previous starts this spring, but he still looked good. Pineda gave up his first runs of the spring in six innings of work, giving the Toronto Blue Jays what they needed to beat the Yankees, 3-1, and snapping their seven-game winning streak Sunday afternoon at GMS Field in Tampa.
Of the Yankees' seven hits in the game, none of them actually drove in their only run. It was a double play groundout by Derek Jeter in the 6th inning that put the Yankees on the board for the first and last time on the day.
For the most part, Pineda had a pretty solid day on the mound, tossing 80 pitches, 57 for strikes, in six innings.
After setting down the Jays in order to begin the ballgame, he ran into a little bit of trouble in the 2nd innings after a throwing error by, who else, Eduardo Nunez put on Edwin Encarnacion on base to open the frame, then Adam Lind singled to set up runners on 1st and 2nd. The next batter, Dioner Navarro singled into right field to score Encarnacion -- although unearned, it was the first run given up this spring by Pineda after opening with 10 scoreless innings.
He gave up two more runs in the 5th inning, both of those earned. Toronto put two runners on base with back-to-back broken bat singles to open the innings, then Ryan Goins dropped down a sac-bunt that saw Pineda throw the ball into him at first base, trickling away for one run to score. Then a couple batters later with Melky Cabrera up at the plate, Pineda threw a wild-pitch past Brian McCann the brought home another run, extending the Jays' lead to 3-0.
Pineda gave up just one hit outside of Toronto's two run-scoring innings. He retired six in-a-row at one point between the 3rd and 4th. One this he was doing very, very well: he was keeping the ball on the ground. Of the 14 outs he recorded, 12 of them came on the ground -- a good sign he is keeping the ball low, not leaving pitches up. His final line: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K.
The Yankees scored their only run in the 6th inning. Ichiro hit a ground-rule double into right field, and then Brett Gardner singled to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Jeter followed Gardner by hitting into a double play, letting Ichiro come across the plate.
While it is worth noting that Jeter is still trying to get his timing back, he's only hitting .114 this spring, and it's hard to believe that he's just going to flip on a switch when the season starts and begin hitting .300.
After Pineda left the game, the Yankees' bullpen did a good job of keeping the Jays off the board in the final three innings. Chris Lewis, Cesar Cabral, who walked two, Dellin Betances, who got out of Cabral's bases loaded jam in the 7th, Danny Burawa and Jim Miller combined for the three scoreless innings.
Brett Gardner picked up a pair of hits, going 2-for-3 at the plate, and Carlos Beltran did the same. Mark Teixeira went 0-for-4, he's hitting .115 this spring.
The Yankees have tomorrow off, and will be back in action on Tuesday when they host the Philadelphia Phillies at The Boss. First pitch for that game is scheduled for 7:05 pm ET.