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Yanks Beat Braves As Pineda Catches Up to Speed

Michael Pineda's second spring outing featured improved velocity.
Michael Pineda's second spring outing featured improved velocity.

Michael Pineda hit 94 mph on the gun, but mostly sat around 89-91 mph, suggesting that although the right hander is building arm strength, he isn't quite there yet. Nonetheless, Pineda managed to limit the Braves to one run over 2 2/3 innings and ended up with a line of four hits, three walks, and one strikeout (57 pitches, 36 strikes). Worth noting is one of the walks to Dan Uggla should have been a swinging strikeout, according to the Braves' radio broadcast, but umpire Joe West did not comply (maybe the game was moving along too quickly for Country Joe?).

After Uggla walked in the third, Cesar Cabral was called upon to get the Yankees out of a first and third jam. The lefty, who is considered a candidate for the backend of the bullpen, helped his cause by striking out Chipper Jones to end the inning. Cabral then upped the ante by recording three straight outs, including a swinging strikeout of lefty Freddie Freeman, in the fourth.

On offense, the Yankees put 11 men on base in 2 1/3 innings against starter Jair Jurrjens, but only plated three runs. Mark Teixeira had a perfect day, walking twice and lining an RBI single, while Alex Rodriguez hit another ball off the right field wall. However, the "highlight" of the first few innings was a picture perfect bunt by Brett Gardner, who also used his speed to steal a base in the first inning.

Gardner was also busy running down balls in leftfield, something Yankees' fans have come to expect. On the other side of the field, however, Raul Ibanez wasn't as proficient. In the first inning, Ibanez allowed a Michael Bourne base hit to roll past him, but the real damage was done to his ego. According to the radio play-by-play, Ibanez did a belly flop on the warning track, which is sure to be a topic of discussion among his teammates.

The game was relatively uneventful once the benches were unloaded, but both teams dented the scoreboard in the late innings. The Yankees scored four runs off Zeke Spruill in the final two frames, thanks in part to a double by Zolio Almonte (ninth inning) and an RBI single by catching prospect Gary Sanchez (eighth inning), who notched two hits in the game. Meanwhile, the Braves slumbering bats finally awoke in the bottom of the eighth, when they plated two runs off Michael O'Connor, but it was too little too late. A scoreless frame by Dan Burawa in the ninth sealed the Yankees 8-3 victory, which helped the Bronx Bombers even their Grapefruit League record at 4-4.