For two years, Michael Pineda was a kind of Yankees mystery. It was unclear whether he’d ever have an impact at Yankee Stadium, let alone pitch a game like he did tonight. In the series opener against the Red Sox, Pineda went six strong innings, allowing one run, striking out seven and lifting the Yankees to a 4-1 win against their long-time rivals. The one mystery that remained was this: What was that gunk on his hand? Boston’s NESN broadcast showed footage of what seemed to be pine tar on Pineda’s pitching hand, but if the Red Sox thought he was cheating, they never made a stink about it, and it seemed the only people who cared were in the broadcast booths or posting on Twitter (it’s worth noting that tonight’s Red Sox starter, Clay Buchholz, has previously been accused of using a foreign substance to get better grip on the ball). Pineda didn’t allow a hit until a leadoff single in the fifth, and he didn’t allow a run until Daniel Nava led off the seventh with a home run. The Yankees gave him a lead with Brian McCann’s go-ahead single in the fourth, and Dean Anna hit his first big league home run in the fifth. With their bullpen depleted because of overuse the past three days, the Yankees got two outs from Cesar Cabral before David Phelps closed out the game with 2.1 hitless innings. It was the first save of his career.
Associated Press photo