Stumbling out of the gate

After the first inning Tuesday night at Houston, the Yankees had nowhere to go but up. A nasty omen was Derek Jeter, who became the first player to appear in 20 seasons for the Yankees, getting hit in the left hand by a pitch from Scott Feldman. DJ took his base and later his position in the field as the Yankees breathed a huge sigh of relief.

The more damaging hits were by the Astros off CC Sabathia in the bottom half of the first. The big lefthander’s decreasing velocity last year and again this spring has been a cause of concern for the Yankees. With a fastball barely clicking 90 mph on the radar gun, Sabathia was roughed up for four runs.

A leadoff double by Dexter Fowler set the tone. Jose Altuve singled Fowler home and promptly stole second base. A wild pitch by Sabathia proved damaging as Altuve crossed to third from where he scored on a fielder’s choice. Mark Teixeira’s throw to the plate left something to be desired as the Yankees looked out of synch.

Jesus Guzman then crushed a first-pitch fastball to left for a two-run home run. CC was touched for a leadoff homer in the second by L.J. Hoes and another run on yet another combination of a Fowler double and Altuve single. The Yankees did not get their first hit until Carlos Beltran singled to left with one out in the fourth.

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