HOUSTON (AP) – Houston’s new additions sure made this team look better than last year’s Astros in the season opener.
Jesus Guzman and L.J. Hoes homered off CC Sabathia to help the Astros roll to a 6-2 win Tuesday night in the first game of Derek Jeter‘s farewell tour with the New York Yankees.
Jeter’s final big league season began by being plunked on the left arm by Scott Feldman and ended 1 for 3 with a single. The 13-time All-Star who helped New York to five World Series titles announced in February his 20th season would be his last.
The Astros added Dexter Fowler, Feldman and Guzman to improve a team coming off three straight 100-loss seasons and that dropped the last 15 games of 2013 to finish with a franchise-worst 111 losses. On the first day, it worked.
“All those guys contributed,” manager Bo Porter said of the first-year Astros. “Dexter Fowler started it off with the deep ball to center field, Guzie with the big two-run homer, and again Scott Feldman was tremendous tonight.”
Fowler had two doubles as Houston jumped on Sabathia for six runs in the first two innings. Feldman allowed two hits in 6 2-3 innings in his Houston debut after signing a three-year, $30 million contract.
“It was great,” Feldman said of his Houston debut. “I think that the guys came off right from the get-go and put up all those runs and I was able to settle in a little bit and I just tried to throw strikes.”
Sabathia led the majors last season with 122 runs allowed and finished with a career-worst 4.78 ERA. Things went bad for him from the start on Monday night in a matchup of the league’s youngest vs. oldest rosters.
Fowler, traded from Colorado this offseason, hit a leadoff double and scored on a one-out single by Jose Altuve that rolled just out of reach of a diving Jeter and into the outfield. Altuve made it 2-0 when he scored on a fielder’s choice by Jason Castro later in the inning.
Things got worse for Sabathia when Guzman launched the first pitch he saw with the Astros into left-center field for a two-run homer to push the lead to 4-0.
Hoes – making his opening day debut – opened the second inning with a home run to the Crawford Boxes in left field. Fowler’s second double came with one out and he scored on a two-out single by Altuve to push the lead to 6-0.
“This entire spring leading up to opening day we built that vibe up where these guys are confident, they’re playing with a lot of energy, focus,” Porter said. “The attention to detail is outstanding. Everybody wants to get out to a good start.”
Sabathia allowed eight hits and six runs in six innings.
The Yankees couldn’t do much offensively until the eighth inning when Brian McCann and Mark Teixeira hit consecutive RBI singles off Chad Qualls to make it 6-2. Qualls got out of the inning when Alfonso Soriano grounded into a double play. Matt Albers, signed to reinforce a bullpen which was dreadful last season, threw a scoreless ninth.
Feldman sailed through the first three innings against the new Bronx Bombers and New York’s first hit didn’t come until Carlos Beltran singled with one out in the fourth. Mark Teixeira walked with two outs, but Feldman struck out Alfonso Soriano to end the threat. He didn’t allow another baserunner until Teixeira singled with one out in the seventh. He loaded the bases with a hit batter and a walk and was replaced by Kevin Chapman with two outs.
Kelly Johnson grounded into a force out that left Teixeira out at home to end the inning.
NOTES: Former President George H.W. Bush and wife Barbara watched the game from front row seats behind the dugout. … Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, who returned to the Astros as an executive advisor in February, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Craig Biggio. The pitch was terrible, flying far out of Biggio’s reach. “I tell you, my catcher didn’t try,” Ryan joked. “That ball wasn’t that far outside and he just didn’t get over.”
AP-WF 4/1/2014 23:00