NEW YORK — Manager Joe Girardi tinkered with his lineup card Thursday, hoping to wake the New York Yankees’ bats from their two-game, season-opening slumber.
Catcher Francisco Cervelli provided an on-field defensive wakeup call, then hit a solo home run, leading the Yankees to a 4-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Thursday for New York’s victory of the season.
Yankees lefthander Andy Pettitte (1-0) struggled early with his command in the chilly Bronx weather, giving up first-inning singles to Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli.
With two outs, Pettitte bounced a pitch past Cervelli that rolled to the backstop. As Cervelli slowly retrieved the ball, Victorino came around third and headed toward home.
“I saw Pettitte wasn’t covering, and I hoped I was going to beat Cervelli to the plate,” Victorino said.
Cervelli recovered in time to tag Victorino head-first and end the inning.
“I was one step away from being safe,” Victorino said.
The play appeared to revive the Yankees and Cervelli.
“Yeah, I fell asleep a little bit on that one,” Cervelli said.
After a scoreless first inning, Lyle Overbay hit a two-run single in the second, and Brett Gardner added a solo home run in the third to give the Yankees an early 3-0 lead. Cervelli added a blast off reliever Clayton Mortensen that bounced off the back wall of the Red Sox bullpen in the seventh, putting New York in front 4-1.
Gardner and Cervelli each hit a homer for the first time since Sept. 6, 2011, when they went back-to-back against the Baltimore Orioles’ Tommy Hunter.
Pettitte’s shutout bid was broken up in the seventh by rookie Jackie Bradley Jr.’s RBI double. The hit marked the sixth time Bradley has reached base in his first 14 major league plate appearances. David Ross threatened to drive Bradley home with a deep fly ball that Gardner caught up to near the warning track.
“Just when we seem to get a little momentum and finally be able to break through against Pettitte, Gardner shut it down with a heck of a play in center,” Boston manager John Farrell said.
Pettitte, 40, scattered eight hits in eight innings, giving up one run and striking out three.
“He didn’t look like an old-timer tonight,” Farrell said. “He pitched a very good game against us.”
Mariano Rivera made his season debut in the ninth, earning the save despite allowing Will Middlebrooks’ run-scoring groundout. It was Rivera’s 69th save of a regular-season Pettitte win, extending his all-time record for a reliever with a starter.
Rivera was marking his first regular-season appearance since April 30, 2012. He missed the rest of last year after sustaining a right knee injury that ultimately necessitated surgery.
“It felt good to be back out there,” Rivera said. “I felt a lot of emotion coming in from the bullpen, but when you’re in that situation, you have to control that because your job is to finish the game for your team.”
Righthander Ryan Dempster lost his Red Sox debut, and he remains winless in six career starts against the Yankees despite his eight-strikeout performance. He allowed three runs on five hits and four walks in five innings.
“He stayed away from damage in a couple of innings where he had some men on base,” Farrell said. “But his pitch count really got him tonight.”
Boston won the series’ first two games, 8-2 Monday and 7-4 Wednesday.
NOTES: The Red Sox head to Toronto for a three-game series against the Blue Jays that begins Friday night. Boston left-hander Felix Doubront will start against Toronto right-hander Josh Johnson. The Red Sox play their home opener Monday against the Baltimore Orioles. … The Red Sox have failed to homer in their first three games of the season for the first time since 1993, when the drought lasted five games. … Stephen Drew (seven-day concussion disabled list) made a rehab appearance Thursday with Double-A Portland, playing five innings at shortstop and going 0-for-3 with an RBI against the Yankees’ Trenton affiliate. … The Yankees begin a three-game home series Friday against the defending American League champion Detroit Tigers. New York’s Ivan Nova will face Detroit’s Doug Fister in a battle of right-handers. … Yankees pitchers held their opponent homerless in the first three games of the season for the first time since 1996. … Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (bruised finger) felt no further ill effects from Wednesday’s game and is scheduled to throw his normal bullpen session Friday at Detroit.
TORONTO — J.P. Arencibia led a five-homer barrage with a pair of home runs as the Toronto Blue Jays’ defeated the Cleveland Indians 10-8 on Thursday for their first win of the season.
The Blue Jays (1-2) who lost their first two games to the Indians (2-1) also received home runs by Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Colby Rasmus before a crowd of 19,515 at Rogers Centre.
Toronto left-hander Mark Buehrle could not stand prosperity, squandering two-run and three-run leads. He lasted 5 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits that included home runs by Carlos Santana and Mark Reynolds and six runs. He also allowed a walk and hit two batters.
Steve Delabar (1-0) finished the sixth inning to pick up the win and Casey Janssen pitched the ninth for the save.
Arencibia led off Toronto’s three-run sixth with his second homer of the game on a 1-1 fastball to put Toronto into 7-6 lead and chase Cleveland starter Brett Myers (0-1) who gave up four home runs among his seven hits.
Cody Allen replaced Myers and after retiring the first batter gave up a home run to Rasmus on a 3-1 fastball. The Blue Jays weren’t done with Allen as Emilio Bonifacio hustled a double and scored on an error by Reynolds who was playing first base.
Toronto built a 6-3 lead on three home runs through five innings, but Cleveland came back against an ineffective Buehrle in the top of sixth.
A leadoff walk, a hit batter and doubles by Santana and Lonnie Chisenhall tied the game.
Left-hander Aaron Loup got two outs in the seventh but allowed two singles and was charged with a run when right-hander Esmil Rogers allowed a single to Reynolds.
Left-hander Darren Oliver allowed a run in the eighth on two-out doubles by Asdrubal Cabrera and Jason Kipnis.
The Indians loaded the bases on a walk and an infield hit but Santana was retired to end the inning on a fine play and long throw by second baseman Bonifacio on a grounder up the middle.
The Blue Jays tacked on a run in the eighth against Matt Albers after one-out walks to Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera. Bautista’s grounder up the middle resulted in a force at second but Cleveland could not complete the double play as Reyes came around to score.
Rajai Davis took over in right field for Bautista in the ninth.
The Indians scored in the first on consecutive two-out doubles by Jason Kipnis and Nick Swisher.
But Toronto’s response was quick. Reyes led off the bottom of the first with a walk and one out later Bautista hit his second homer of the season on a 1-0 slider. Arencibia hit his first homer of the season on the first pitch of the second inning, a fastball, to give the Blue Jays a 3-1 lead.
Cleveland tied it on successive two-out home runs by Santana, his first, on a 3-1 fastball, and Reynolds, his second, on a 2-2 change-up. Reynolds won Wednesday’s game with an 11th-inning homer, his first hit of the season.
Encarnacion’s first homer of the season, a laser to left on a 2-0 fastball, put Toronto into a 6-3 lead in the fifth. It scored Reyes who singled with one out and Melky Cabrera who walked. Reyes was shaken up stealing second during Cabrera’s plate appearance but after being attended to he was able to continue.
NOTES: Cleveland put left-hander Scott Kazmir on the disabled list Thursday with a strained right rib cage. Right-hander Trevor Bauer is expected to start Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays in Kazmir’s place. Kazmir will likely miss two or three starts. … Both teams switched first basemen and designated hitters for Thursday’s game. Swisher was at DH with Reynolds at first base for Cleveland and Adam Lind was at first base and Encarnacion at DH for Toronto. … The Blue Jays open a three-game series at Rogers Centre on Friday against the Boston Red Sox who are managed by John Farrell, the manager at Toronto the previous two seasons. … Mark DeRosa, who was making his first start of the season for Toronto, also will get the start at third base Friday when Boston starts left-hander Felix Doubront. DeRosa was used as a pinch-hitter in Wednesday’s 3-2 loss in 11 innings. DeRosa will get the start at third base on Friday against Boston left-hander Felix Doubront. … The Blue Jays will start right-hander Josh Johnson against the Red Sox on Friday.