Pineda’s six shutout innings helped the Yankees win the nightcap against the Cubs

Michael Pineda

Michael Pineda

Michael Pineda pitched his first game after the “pine tar/dirt” incident against the Red Sox, and he led the Yankees to a 2-0 win in the nightcap of the doubleheader. In six shutout innings, Pineda allowed four hits, had three big strikeouts and only one walk.

“Today is hard because it was cold, but today my changeup was working, and I am happy about that,” Pineda said.

The inning that Pineda showed the most poise and resilience was in the fifth. Starlin Castro and Luis Valbuena both singled and advanced to second and third, but Pineda was able to retire Ryan Kalish via strikeout and Darwin Barney via fly out to prevent any damage.

Pineda, who is in his first season pitching after two injury-filled campaigns after being acquired from the Seattle Mariners, is pitching like when he was an All-Star as a rookie for the Mariners. After three starts, he has pitched 18 innings, has 15 strikeouts to only three walks, and a 1.00 ERA.

In the first game of the doubleheader, Masahiro Tanaka’s eight dominating innings helped the Yankees win 3-0. His splitter was working as he struck out 10 batters and only allowed two hits (both bunts) and a walk.

The last time the Yankees shutout both games of a doubleheader was in 1987 against the Royals, which proves this is a rare yet impressive feat.

“It just goes to show you how well our pitchers threw today,” manager Joe Girardi said. “When you can shut the other team down for 18 innings it shows you are doing something right.”

Yangervis Solarte, who came into the game tied for the league lead in doubles, was not able to drive Carlos Beltran home from third after he hustled to second after his grounder deflected off of Starlin Castro’s glove in the first.

In the bottom of the third, Derek Jeter, who missed the previous three games due to a tight quad, was stranded at second after his routine grounder went right under Darwin Bailey’s glove for an error.

The Yankees finally came through with runners in scoring position in the fourth. With Scott Sizemore on third, after recording his first hit as a Yankee, Brett Gardner (.283) hit a single past Anthony Rizzo at first that sent him home.

For Sizemore’s first RBI as Yankee he drove in Alfonso Soriano with a shallow two-out hit to left. Sizemore, who was out of baseball due to injuries the last two seasons, went 2-3. After Soriano’s two hits he is now hitting .300 in his past five games.

The bullpen only allowed two hits in three innings. Adam Warren picked up his first career save. Shawn Kelley was not available since his 22 pitches helped him record the save in Game 1.

Every player wore No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day, and before the second game the Yankees dedicated a plaque in Monument Park to honor the late Nelson Mandela.

The Yankees, who have now won four games in a row, will have momentum when they play in Tropicana Field against the 7-8 Rays on Thursday.

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