LAKELAND, Fla. -- Brian McCann hit his first home run in a Yankees uniform Friday, spearheading a four-homer barrage off Tigers pitching before New York's Minor Leaguers withstood a seventh-inning rally for a 7-4 win at Joker Marchant Stadium.
"It was a good game. We made some plays in the field that helped us get out of innings," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We had a couple of guys thrown out at home plate, and I thought we swung the bats pretty well."
On a day when the Tigers easily outhit the Bronx Bombers, the combination of Yankees homers and Detroit outs on the basepaths nullified any advantage. All seven Yankees runs scored on balls that left the yard. McCann's solo shot leading off the second inning was the only base hit off Max Scherzer in the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner's first start of the spring.
A year ago at this point, Scherzer was being held back a bit as a precaution for his shoulder. With no such restrictions this spring, Scherzer pitched strong, topping out at 94 mph on his fastball while throwing all four pitches in his arsenal. His one mistake was a fastball to McCann, who drove it over an infield shift and off the batting cage building beyond right field.
Scherzer struck out two batters to close his outing. Yankees catching prospect Gary Sanchez added to the advantage with a third-inning solo homer off Luis Ortega.
Yankees starter Adam Warren walked two and allowed two hits over his two innings, but escaped a first-inning jam with back-to-back outs on the bases. Warren picked speedster Rajai Davis off second base with Miguel Cabrera at the plate. Cabrera drew a two-out walk, but was thrown out trying to go from first to third on Victor Martinez's walk, hoping to catch Warren unattentive.
Zoilo Almonte and Ramon Flores later threw out Tigers baserunners at the plate, while Jose Pirela threw out Steven Moya trying to stretch a single into a double. The aggressive play reflects new manager Brad Ausmus' push this spring to try for extra bases. It won't always be successful, but Ausmus has said he's trying to change the team's mindset.
Pirela added a two-run homer off Luis Marte in the seventh inning, followed by a three-run shot by Yangervis Solarte to build a 7-0 lead. Moya's RBI single and John Murrian's two-run double cut it down in the bottom half, but never threatened to erase it.
Up next: Masahiro Tanaka is scheduled to make his spring debut on Saturday against the Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field, entering in relief for the fifth inning of the 1:05 p.m. ET game, live on MLB.TV. CC Sabathia is starting for New York and is slated to pitch two innings, or 35 pitches. Hiroki Kuroda is scheduled to enter in the third inning. Philadelphia has tabbed David Buchanan for the start.