Rapid Reaction: Yankees 4, Astros 2

April, 3, 2014
Apr 3
11:44
PM ET
HOUSTON -- The Yankees won their first game of the season behind the pitching of Ivan Nova and the hitting of Yangervis Solarte and Ichiro Suzuki.

David Robertson picked up his first save in the post-Mariano Rivera era.

No Mo: Robertson earned the save with a 1-2-3 ninth.

Never Nervous Yangervis: Joe Girardi made a couple of lineup changes for Thursday to combat the Yankees' arduous travel schedule to Toronto. Two of the moves put Ichiro and Solarte in the lineup. They were in the middle of the Yankees' scoring in the third.

Ichiro and Solarte's one-out singles set up Brett Gardner's RBI single to tie the score. Solarte, who was making his first major league start, would come around to score on Carlos Beltran's sacrifice fly. And, just as they drew up in the offseason, the Yankees had their first lead behind Ichiro and Solarte.

The Captain's first RBI: In this his last season, Derek Jeter picked up his first RBI. With two outs in the fifth, Jeter lined an RBI single to right to score Solarte. It was Jeter's 3,318th hit of his career, moving him just one shy of Paul Molitor for eighth place.

Solarte started everything off with a hustling double to left before coming around to score.

Legends don't go easily: Ichiro's position on the Yankees seemed to be "left out," but as one of the greatest hitters for average of all-time, he apparently isn't going to accept that easily -- at least judging by Thursday.

After his single in the two-run third, he added a two-out double the opposite way in the seventh.

Solarte the sensation: Ichiro scored when Solarte hit a pop-up in front of home plate. Instead of catching it, the Astros set up a committee to study the issue. The ball dropped as pitcher Brad Peacock, first baseman Marc Krauss and catcher Carlos Corporan just looked at each other. No one got it, and the Ichiro-Solarte combo did their thing again.

Solid Nova: Ivan Nova followed Hiroki Kuroda with another pretty good start for the Yankees. The difference between Nova's performance and Kuroda's? Nova got some run support. Nova went 5 2/3 innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits. He walked five but used four double plays to escape trouble.

Warren Commissioned: Adam Warren supplied 1 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball before handing to Shawn Kelley for the eighth. To start that inning, Jose Altuve smashed a shot at third, but the play was made.

By who? By who else? Solarte.

Falling behind: For the third straight game, the Yankees fell behind in the first inning to the Astros. Houston scored a run, but it could have been worse.

Dexter Fowler, who played like Rickey Henderson these past three days, singled to leadoff. After another single and a hit batter, Nova had the bases loaded with no outs. Nova allowed a run to score on a groundout, but no more.

Lost count: In the ninth, with Solarte up, the umps went to replay because they couldn't figure out the count. Not kidding. Solarte ended up walking to finish off his 3-for-3 night that included two runs scored and an RBI.

Up next: The MLB debut of Masahiro Tanaka in Toronto on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The start was supposed to be at 7 p.m., but the Yankees, according to their media relations department, were informed that first pitch will be at 7:30 p.m.
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
13 2.77 141 136
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146