Yankees finally get a lead
The first inning continues to be a problem for the Yankees. For the third straight game, the Astros got on the board their first time up. Houston has outscored the Yankees, 6-0, in the first innings of the three games combined.
That the Astros got only one run in the opening frame Thursday night was actually a break for the Yankees considering Houston had four players reach base that inning against Ivan Nova. The righthander got into immediate trouble by loading the bags with none out on two singles and a hit batter.
Houston made the least of the situation by pushing only one run across on a fielder’s choice. After reloading the bases with a walk, Nova worked out of the jam by getting Marc Krauss to ground into an inning-ending double play.
The Yankees’ lineup had a slightly different look with catcher Brian McCann, center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury and third baseman Kelly Johnson getting the night off against a lefthander, Brett Obertholtzer. Two of the new players in the lineup, Ichiro Suzuki and Yangervis Solarte, helped construct a rally in the second inning that resulted in the Yankees getting their first lead of the season in 21 innings.
Suzuki started in right field with Carlos Beltran shifting to the designated hitter role. Alfonso Soriano, who was the DH in the first two games, played left field with Brett Gardner moving to center. Francisco Cervelli was behind the plate. Solarte got his first major-league start at third base where he is currently in a platoon with Johnson.
Ichiro got the Yankees started with a single to left. Solarte followed with a single to center for his first big-league hit that sent Suzuki to third. Gardner, back in the leadoff spot, tied the score with a ground single to right, ending a Yankees’ streak of 12 at-bats without a hit with runners in scoring position.
Derek Jeter walked on a full count to load the bases. Beltran put the Yankees ahead with a sacrifice fly to center. Now it was up to Nova to protect it.