Sturtze hit hard in loss to Astros

Sturtze hit hard in loss to Astros

at Tampa, Fla.
Thursday, March 16

Yankees at the plate: Hideki Matsui blasted his first home run of the spring, which also accounted for his first RBI. Kelly Stinnett and Ramiro Pena each had RBI hits in the second inning, while Gary Sheffield brought a run home with an RBI sacrifice fly. Russ Johnson added a solo homer in the eighth.

Astros at the plate: Mike Lamb did most of the damage for the Astros, contributing a two-run single in the first inning and a solo home run against Kyle Farnsworth in the sixth. Luke Scott and Brian Gordon each drove in a pair of runs in the seventh for Houston.

Yankees on the mound: Chien-Ming Wang tossed four innings in his third start of the spring. The right-hander allowed two unearned runs on five hits, striking out one batter without issuing a walk. Mariano Rivera allowed one hit and walked a batter, pitching one scoreless inning. Tanyon Sturtze allowed four runs in the seventh inning, taking the loss.

Astros on the mound: Brandon Backe made his fourth appearance of the spring, his third start. The right-hander allowed four runs on six hits in five innings, walking two and striking out one. Joe Valentine pitched a pair of scoreless innings to pick up the victory.

Grapefruit League records: Yankees 7-9; Astros 6-9.

Up next: The Yankees travel across the state for a two-day road trip against the Cardinals and Marlins. Friday, Shawn Chacon gets the start against St. Louis, taking on Jeff Suppan at 12:05 p.m. CT. The Astros travel to Disney World on Friday to play the Braves, as Fernando Nieve faces off against Kyle Davies at 12:05 p.m. CT.

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.