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Yankees Have Problems in Houston

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By KRISTIE RIEKEN  AP Sports Writer

HOUSTON (AP) _ Jesus Guzman and L.J. Hoes homered off CC Sabathia to help the Houston 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 and Feldman to improve a team coming off three straight 100-loss seasons. On the first day, it worked.

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

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.

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.

For the first time since 1947 and just the second time in team history, every position except pitcher had a different player on opening day than it did in New York’s previous opener.

The Yankees began 2013 with a loss to Boston and among those who have either moved on or to the bench are star second baseman Robinson Cano (who signed with Seattle) and aging outfielder Ichiro Suzuki (now a reserve for New York).

Brett Garner was the only player in both lineups, though he moved from center to left to make room Jacoby Ellsbury, one of several newly acquired star for the Yankees.

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 forceout 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.”

 

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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