Bronx, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Michael Pineda turned in six-plus sharp innings to earn his first major league win in nearly 33 months, and the New York Yankees drew first blood in their early-season series with the rival Boston Red Sox with a 4-1 verdict on Thursday.
Jacoby Ellsbury, facing his former team for the first time since bolting the defending World Series champion Red Sox for a seven-year, $153 million contract with the Yankees over the winter, contributed an RBI single and a run scored to help the Bronx Bombers claim the opener of this four-game set. Fellow free-agent pickup Brian McCann also singled in a run, while rookie Dean Anna belted his first big-league homer in the victory.
Still, the star of the game was Pineda (1-1), who missed two full seasons with shoulder problems after being acquired by the Yankees from Seattle in January of 2012. The right-hander held Boston to one run -- a Daniel Nava homer in the seventh -- and four hits while striking out seven.
"His location was really good, he mixed his pitches really well," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "He gave us some good distance on a night when he really needed it, so there were a lot of [positives]."
Pineda's last win in the majors came with Seattle on July 30, 2011.
"I'm so happy tonight," he said. "It was my first time pitching at Yankee Stadium, so I was very, very excited tonight."
Boston starter Clay Buchholz (0-1) bounced back from an awful season debut to toss six solid innings, but was hung with the loss after permitting four runs -- two earned -- while fanning six.
"I felt a lot better," Buchholz said. "I felt a lot more comfortable with each pitch out there. I've got to minimize damage a little bit more in a couple of spots. Other than that, I felt like I threw the ball pretty well."
Xander Bogaerts collected two of the Red Sox' four hits.
Pineda was in control nearly the entire way through his second start as a Yankee, beginning his stint with seven straight outs and not yielding a hit until Bogaerts singled to lead off the fifth. He was working with a 2-0 lead at the time after New York reached Buchholz for a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Ellsbury's second at-bat against his ex-mates was a slow grounder that Boston third baseman Jonathan Herrera mishandled for an error to begin New York's half of the fourth. He took second on a Carlos Beltran base hit before McCann delivered a hard single down the right-field line to break the scoreless deadlock as Beltran raced to third.
Buchholz was able to get the next batter, Alfonso Soriano, to bounce into a double-play, though Beltran crossed the plate for a 2-0 advantage.
Anna extended the margin by hammering a Buchholz offering into the seats in right with one out in the fifth. Derek Jeter smacked a ground-rule double two batters later, with Ellsbury following with a grounder through the left side of the infield to increase the lead to 4-0.
Pineda's shutout bid was spoiled when Nava crushed a belt-high fastball over the right-field wall to open the seventh, then surrendered a single to Bogaerts to have his evening end. Cesar Cabral came on to strike out A.J. Pierzynski and Jackie Bradley Jr. in succession before David Phelps prevented further damage by retiring pinch-hitter Ryan Roberts on a ground ball.
Phelps then set the Red Sox down in order over the final two innings to pick up his first career save.