Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Richard goes 8 innings, Padres beat Dodgers 4-0

 Clayton Richard is trying to lead by example on the second-youngest roster in the majors. In their second game of the season, he showed the San Diego Padres how to win.
The 33-year-old Richard pitched eight impressive innings, Yangervis Solarte homered and the Padres turned four double plays to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-0 on Tuesday night.
"The biggest thing is getting our first team win," Richard said. "At the beginning of the season, you want to get that out of the way."
Richard is back for his second career stint in San Diego after beginning last season with the Cubs, where he worked 25 games in relief before being let go in August and catching on with the Padres again.
"His fastball command was outstanding. He got groundball after groundball after groundball," San Diego manager Andy Green said. "He got the double plays to get out of four innings. His changeup was as good as I've seen it. He punched some guys out with it and it's not normally a punchout pitch for him."
The Dodgers were limited to five hits after pounding out 14 in a 14-3 rout Monday, when they set a franchise record for opening day by socking four home runs.
"Clayton's goal is to put the ball on the ground and he's a high percentage sinker," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "When he's doing that, he's going to be tough."
Corey Seager, last season's NL Rookie of the Year, went 0 for 4 with a strikeout and hit into two double plays for Los Angeles. Kenta Maeda (0-1) gave up three runs in five innings.
"I was a little bit too excited, being the season opener," Maeda said through a translator. "(Richard) really moved the ball well and kept the hitters off balance. He kept the rhythm off balance, which is something I wasn't able to do for my team."
The Padres had 11 hits after being held to five by Clayton Kershaw and Chris Hatcher on Monday.
Richard (1-0) allowed five hits - all singles - on 99 pitches. The left-hander struck out five and walked two.
"It's really difficult to lead in the clubhouse if you're not doing it on the field," said Richard, a former backup quarterback at Michigan. "Guys gravitate toward guys who do well on the field. That's just in anything in life, people gravitate to those who are successful."
Brad Hand pitched the ninth to complete the shutout.
San Diego turned inning-ending double plays in the second, fourth and sixth.
Solarte's homer with two outs in the third extended the lead to 3-0. His RBI single accounted for the Padres' first run, and Ryan Schimpf added a sacrifice fly that made it 2-0 in the first.
Wil Myers had an RBI single with two outs in the eighth.
Erick Aybar went 3 for 3 with a walk for the Padres.
Maeda allowed six hits to open his second season in the majors. The Japanese right-hander struck out four and walked two. He finished third in last season's NL Rookie of the Year voting after going 16-11 with a 3.48 ERA in 32 starts.
Julio Urias is set to make his next start at Triple-A Oklahoma City, although the Dodgers optioned him to Class A Rancho Cucamonga, a move manager Dave Roberts attributed to paperwork. Urias threw a side session Tuesday and will start for OKC later this week. The Dodgers have been protective of the 20-year-old's arm in order to save him for September and October. Urias was 5-2 with a 3.39 ERA and 84 strikeouts while pitching 82 2/3 innings in the majors last year.
Padres: RHP Trevor Cahill starts the third game of the series Wednesday.
Dodgers: LHP Rich Hill is 1-3 with a 5.75 ERA in four career starts against San Diego and has limited hitters to a .216 average.

Espinosa's 3-run homer in 9th rallies Angels past A's 7-6

Not all athletes who suffer serious head injuries are able to overcome the physical and psychological wounds.
Exactly seven months after being struck in the head by a line drive that left him with a cracked skull, Matt Shoemaker looked every bit the same pitcher he had been.
Shoemaker tossed five effective innings in his return to the mound and Danny Espinosa hit a three-run homer in the ninth to rally the Los Angeles Angels past the Oakland Athletics 7-6 on Tuesday night.
It was Shoemaker's first regular-season outing since he was hit by a line drive off Kyle Seager's bat in Seattle last September, an injury that required surgery to stop bleeding in his brain. The right-hander wore a carbon-fiber protective insert under his cap to protect an area where a titanium plate was inserted on his skull.
"He's very determined," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's been very determined his whole career to get to this point. I think once he was physically fit, I think everyone felt that he would come back. He's got the perseverance to get back on that mound and hopefully have the success that he had before."
Shoemaker threw 99 pitches and labored at times. But he left with a 4-2 lead after allowing home runs to Jed Lowrie and Ryon Healy.
There was a bit of a scare in the fourth, when Stephen Vogt's broken-bat comebacker glanced off Shoemaker's hip.
"It felt pretty good. A little erratic with the location, but overall it felt pretty good," Shoemaker said.
The Angels trailed 6-4 in the ninth when Espinosa sent an 0-2 slider from Ryan Dull (0-1) over the fence in right-center.
"I just got a good barrel to it," Espinosa said.
Dull struck out Espinosa with a slider on Monday.
"One bad pitch," the reliever said. "It was down, but I have to get it a little bit lower. Especially with him. He hit 24 homers for a reason."
Jefry Marte's infield single got the Angels going in the ninth. Cameron Maybin followed with a single and Andrelton Simmons reached on a fielder's choice that sent Marte to third.
Andrew Bailey (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth for the win. Cam Bedrosian closed for his second career save and first this season.
Lowrie was 3 for 4 and nearly hit for the cycle. Right fielder Kole Calhoun's diving catch in the eighth robbed him of extra bases, and likely the triple he needed.
Rajai Davis had a two-run triple for Oakland that barely reached the outfield grass. He scored on the play when Espinosa made an errant throw to third.
Angels catcher Martin Maldonado showcased his powerful throwing arm, picking off Marcus Semien at first base in the second inning and catching Rajai Davis trying to steal second in the third. "That's what Martin can do," Scioscia said. "He's a game changer behind the plate."
The Angels homered against Oakland for the 17th time in 18 games and have won 31 of the last 48 meetings between the teams.
Angels: RHP Huston Street, out since March 4 with lat strain, began his throwing program from 60 feet on flat ground.
Athletics: RHP Sonny Gray threw 25 pitches in his first bullpen session since sustaining a lat strain on March 7, manager Bob Melvin said. Gray used all his pitches and threw at full strength. He'll have at least one more bullpen before a rehab assignment. ... RHP Chris Bassitt will face hitters Wednesday for the first time since undergoing reconstructive elbow surgery last May.
Athletics: Rookie RHP Jharel Cotton pitches Wednesday night against the Angels. He held opponents to a .208 batting average in six starts last season.
Angels: RHP Garrett Richards makes his first start since May 1, 2016. He underwent stem cell treatment in lieu of Tommy John surgery for a partially torn ligament in his right elbow.

Hernandez drives in 4, Cueto and Giants top Diamondbacks 8-4

Gorkys Hernandez didn't know until he got to the ballpark that he'd be in the lineup.
Obviously he was ready, though.
With Denard Span out due to tightness in his hip, Hernandez took over in center field and the leadoff spot, driving in four runs to lead the San Francisco Giants past the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-4 on Tuesday night.
Hernandez singled home two runs in the second inning and doubled in two more in a five-run fifth.
"You have to be ready all the time," he said. "You never know what's going to happen, especially on the bench. You've got to be ready just in case when the boss says, `You ready?' I'm ready."
The Giants bounced back after blowing Sunday's season opener by allowing two runs with two outs in the ninth inning.
"Gorkys, what a great day he had for us," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He wasn't scheduled to play. We had to insert him in the lineup and he had four RBIs, had good defense, got some big hits. I've said this so many times: The bench plays such an important role during the season."
Johnny Cueto (1-0) went five innings for the win despite giving up home runs to Jake Lamb and Paul Goldschmidt.
Cueto allowed four runs on six hits, struck out five and walked two. He got on base twice, once when he slapped the ball past first base for a single in a sacrifice bunt situation, the other on an error.
After new closer Mark Melancon blew the save in Sunday's 6-5 defeat, four Giants relievers combined to allow one hit over four scoreless innings this time.
Carl Crawford homered and Joe Panik had three hits and scored twice for San Francisco.
Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin (0-1) was lifted for a pinch hitter after throwing 87 pitches in four innings. He gave up three runs and seven hits.
"Not the best results there," Corbin said. "They made me work from the get-go."
Still, the Diamondbacks trailed only 3-2 when Corbin left. The Giants broke loose for five runs, four earned, off reliever Randall Delgado in the fifth.
Crawford led off with a towering home run inside the right-field foul pole.
Eduardo Nunez singled, Chris Marrero struck out and Panik singled to put runners at first and third with one out when Cueto grounded to shortstop Chris Owings for what should have been an inning-ending double play. But the ball got past Owings for an error.
Hernandez followed with a two-run double, and Brandon Belt doubled in another run to put the Giants up 8-2.
Hernandez gave the Giants a 2-0 lead with a bases-loaded, broken-bat single in the second. San Francisco added an unearned run in the third.
Arizona scored twice in the fourth on Goldschmidt's leadoff homer and Owings' RBI single.
Archie Bradley, consistently hitting the high 90s (mph) on the ballpark radar gun, struck out seven in 3 1/3 scoreless innings of relief for the Diamondbacks.
Cueto got some ribbing from his teammates about his speed when he scored from first on Hernandez's fifth-inning double.
But he might not have touched home plate.
Cueto rather sheepishly acknowledged it was close.
"I think I touched the plate with my heel," he said through a translator, "just a little bit."
Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said there was a misunderstanding among his players on how to appeal the play.
Lamb's two-run homer splashed down in the Chase Field swimming pool beyond the right-field fence. The Diamondbacks keep track of such things, so it was the 56th time a home run landed in the pool since the ballpark opened in 1998. Thirty-six of them have been hit by Arizona players.
Giants: Span said he woke up with a stiff hip Monday and his availability will be determined day by day.
Diamondbacks: Lovullo said RHP Jake Barrett, who could be Arizona's setup man once he's healthy, is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Wednesday. Barrett opened the season on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.
Giants: LHP Matt Moore starts Wednesday in the third game of the four-game series.
Diamondbacks: RHP Taijuan Walker, acquired in an offseason trade that sent Jean Segura to Seattle, makes his Arizona debut.

McCann and Gonzalez help Astros over Mariners 2-1

 Brian McCann's focus this offseason was finding a way to hit more balls to the opposite field like he used to earlier in his career.
On Tuesday night against the Mariners it paid off when he got his first hit with the Astros on an opposite field home run that helped Houston to a 2-1 win.
"A lot of work went into this offseason with my swing to be able to do that," he said. "Over the last two years I'd just become a dead pull hitter and I put a lot of hours in the cage for that swing right there. I was waiting for it to translate into a real game ... so it was nice for it to pay off tonight."
Marwin Gonzalez added a solo homer to back a solid start by Lance McCullers and give the Astros their second straight victory over Seattle to start the season.
McCann's homer off Hisashi Iwakuma (0-1) put Houston up 1-0 in the third inning, and Gonzalez broke a 1-all tie with his solo shot to left-center in the sixth inning.
McCullers (1-0), slowed by injuries for chunks of last season, allowed one run and five hits while fanning seven in six innings. It was his first start since August 2 after he missed the last two months of last year with an elbow injury.
"I felt really good most of the start. I felt pretty locked in," he said. "I thought I was working the fastball pretty good. The curveball mix was pretty good. I mixed in a couple changeups along the way, so it was good."
Will Harris pitched a perfect seventh, Luke Gregerson allowed one hit in the eighth and Ken Giles finished with a one-hit ninth for his second save.
Danny Valencia had two hits and drove in a run, the Mariners' only one in two games against the Astros.
"We couldn't string any good at bats together, and their pitching has been very good," manager Scott Servais said. "We chased some balls out of the strike zone and have gotten away from controlling the zone a little bit."
Gonzalez is 12 for 27 with two homers and four RBIs against Iwakuma, who allowed both runs, four hits and three walks in six innings. He didn't allow a hit until McCann's homer to left field.
Mitch Haniger doubled to start the fourth inning before McCullers intentionally walked Kyle Seager with two outs. An RBI single by Danny Valencia tied it and Leonys Martin reached on an error by Gonzalez at first, loading the bases, but Mike Zunino grounded out.
Jarrod Dyson hit an inning-ending groundout with two on in the sixth.
Mariners: Ace Felix Hernandez, who left Monday's start after the fifth inning with tightness in a groin, was still dealing with the problem but said he expects to take his next turn in the rotation.
Astros: Houston starter Collin McHugh is to make am injury rehabilitation start for Triple-A Fresno on Thursday. McHugh opened the season on the 10-day DL after dealing with "dead arm."
The Mariners moved left-hander Drew Smyly from the 10-day to the 60-day disabled list while he recovers from a flexor strain in his left arm. Smyly was 1-0 with a 5.0 ERA in three Cactus League games this spring. Seattle claimed right-hander Evan Marshall off waivers from Arizona to take Smyly's spot on the 40-man roster. Marshall, who was designated for assignment by Arizona on March 28, was assigned to Triple-A Tacoma.
Houston's pitching staff opened the season by throwing 12 1/3 scoreless innings, which is the longest streak to start a season in franchise history. It's the second time the Astros have held their opponents to one run or less in both of their first two games and the first time since 1979 when they did it in their first three.
Mariners: LHP James Paxton starts in the third game of this series on Wednesday. Paxton was 6-7 with a 3.79 ERA in 20 starts last season.
Astros: RHP Charlie Morton is to make his Astros debut on Wednesday. Morton missed most of last season because of hamstring surgery. He was 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in four starts.

Indians hold on for 4-3 win at Texas, clinch opening series

Carlos Carrasco is over the broken bone in his hand that forced him to miss the playoffs with the AL champion Cleveland Indians.
Carrasco stuck out seven and pitched into the sixth inning in his first start since taking a liner off his right hand last September, and the Indians held on for a 4-3 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.
"It's something in the past, I got it last year, so this year is a new year," Carrasco said. "Feel pretty good for myself, with my body, with my arm. Everything's fine."
Carrasco (1-0), who had some elbow discomfort this spring, allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings. Andrew Miller pitched a perfect eighth inning and Cody Allen got another save by striking out the side for the second night in a row against the two-time defending AL West champions.
After consecutive doubles by Nomar Mazara and Mike Napoli to start a 25-pitch ninth inning, Allen struck out Rougned Odor, pinch-hitter Jurickson Profar and Joey Gallo. In the opener, Allen struck out the side around a triple by Elvis Andrus.
"Cody threw the ball really well, just maybe too many strikes," Indians manager Terry Francona said "But you could tell what kind of stuff he had because after those first two hits. ... There was no wiggle room, and he didn't need it."
Carlos Santana started the game with his sixth career leadoff homer , and then followed Austin Jackson's two-out RBI single with one of his own in the second for a 3-0 lead against Martin Perez (0-1).
That was it for the Indians against Perez, who allowed five hits and walked four in six innings.
"It was encouraging to see him settle down. Obviously we're getting to a point where it's time to put that together throughout an entire game," manager Jeff Banister said.
Michael Brantley added two-out RBI single for the Indians in the seventh, when Texas used three relievers.
Texas closed to 3-2 in the second when Gallo hit a two-run homer deep into the second deck of seats in right field. The young slugger, playing third base with Adrian Beltre on the disabled list, is 3 for 32 with two homers and 23 strikeouts since the start of last season.
Gallo's homer accounted for the only runs against Carrasco, who yielded four hits and walked one while throwing 78 pitches.
"After he gave up that home run that might still be going, he settled down, he threw strikes," Francona said. "He threw some really good off-speed, made some big pitches."
Indians: OF Lonnie Chisenhall (right shoulder sprain) is to join Triple-A Columbus, where he is scheduled to DH on Friday and play the outfield on Saturday.
Rangers: RHP Tyson Ross threw a bullpen and could pitch in a minor league game this weekend. Ross is recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery last October. ... Beltre (right calf tightness) likely will hit Wednesday when RHP Andrew Cashner (right biceps) is scheduled to throw a simulated game.
Texas SS Elvis Andrus started a double play with a diving stop to his left on a grounder by Jose Ramirez in the third. While still on the ground, Andrus scooped the ball from his glove to Odor, who with a barehanded grab and made the relay throw to first. ... Texas leadoff hitter Carlos Gomez had two potential hits taken away - RF Brandon Guyer made a running and lunging catch in the first; and 2B Ramirez ran a long way and reached to catch a popup in shallow right field in the eighth.
Cleveland had two runners thrown out when they couldn't hold on to the bag. Francisco Lindor was initially called safe on a stolen base attempt in the first, but after a replay challenge he was called out for losing contact of the base for only a split second while Andrus held the tag. Ramirez was out in the sixth after he slid past third base.
Indians: Danny Salazar makes his first start of the season after a major league-leading 37 strikeouts in spring training.
Rangers: Lefty Cole Hamels, 15-5 last year, allowed only two hits in eight scoreless innings last August against Cleveland with eight strikeout and no walks.

Almora's catch aids Arrieta in Cubs 2-1 win at St. Louis

 Albert Almora Jr. provided a big lift for the Chicago Cubs with a birthday present for his mom.
Almora robbed Matt Adams of a home run and Javier Baez made a terrific sliding stop on Kolten Wong's game-ending grounder, sending Jake Arrieta and the Cubs to a 2-1 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.
It looked as if the Cardinals had tied the game in the seventh, but Almora tracked Adams' deep fly ball to the wall and hauled it in with a leaping grab at the top of the fence in center. A pumped-up Almora then celebrated with left fielder Kyle Schwarber as Adams tipped his batting helmet in appreciation of the play.
"Yesterday was my mother's birthday, and I told her, `I'm going to hit you a homer,'" Almora said. "Then I didn't, but then I told her `I didn't hit you one, but I robbed you one,' and she loved it and thought it was pretty funny. I love playing defense, and I love helping out my team."
St. Louis had a runner on first in the ninth when Baez went into short right field to take a hit away from Wong. The Cardinals challenged the bang-bang play, but the call was confirmed.
Arrieta pitched six innings of one-run ball, helping the World Series champions bounce back from a wild 4-3 loss to St. Louis on Sunday night. Willson Contreras hit a tying three-run homer in the ninth inning of the opener, but the Cardinals won it in the bottom half on Randal Grichuk's game-ending single.
Arrieta improved to 8-2 in 14 career starts against St. Louis. Koji Uehara then worked the seventh and Pedro Strop got three outs before Wade Davis finished for his first save since he was acquired in an offseason trade with Kansas City.
Adam Wainwright allowed two runs and three hits in five innings for St. Louis. The right-hander is hoping to bounce back this season after recording a 4.62 ERA last year.
The Cardinals also lost Stephen Piscotty to a head contusion in the fifth, part of a rough inning for the outfielder.
Piscotty reached when he was hit by a pitch from Arrieta. He was hit again by Contreras' throw when he stole second. He then scored from second on Wong's infield hit to the right side of the mound, but he was hit in the head by Baez's throw home.
Baez was charged with two errors on the play. Piscotty, who agreed to a $33.5 million, six-year contract a day earlier, was down on the field for several minutes. He eventually walked off the field.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said he would be evaluated for a concussion later Tuesday night and on Wednesday.
"I've never seen (a trip around the bases) like that before," Matheny said.
Chicago jumped in front with two in the fourth. Addison Russell doubled and scored on Jason Heyward's single to center. Contreras then scampered home on Baez's safety squeeze.
It was Almora's first game of the season. The last time Almora was on the field in a game that mattered, he used some savvy baserunning to help set up the go-ahead run in the 10th inning of Game 7 of the World Series.
Almora and Jon Jay are expected to draw most of the starts in center field after Dexter Fowler signed with the Cardinals over the winter. Almora hit .318 and drove in 16 runs in 23 games during spring training.
Ben Zobrist was out of the starting lineup, something manager Joe Maddon said had less to do with early rest for the 35-year-old and more to do with getting Almora in the lineup. "It's too early to worry about days off; I'm just trying to get people involved," Maddon said.
Fowler, playing in his second game for St. Louis after leaving the Cubs in the offseason, wasn't surprised by Baez's run-scoring bunt. Fowler has seen that kind of call many times before from Maddon.
"I played over there for two years, and Joe does what Joe does," Fowler said. "It works out a lot of the time."
With a 90 percent chance of rain in the forecast, the teams are scheduled to close out the series on Wednesday afternoon. St. Louis right-hander Lance Lynn is set to make his debut after missing all of last season following elbow surgery, while Chicago right-hander John Lackey takes the mound after going 11-8 with a 3.35 ERA last season.

Holland, Rockies' bullpen close out Brewers again in 6-5 win

 Greg Holland measures his progress back from Tommy John surgery in simple steps.
He's feeling just fine as long as he's closing out games for the Colorado Rockies.
Holland earned his second save in two days, capping another scoreless outing for Colorado relievers in a 6-5 win Tuesday night over the Milwaukee Brewers.
The right-hander tossed a perfect ninth for a Rockies bullpen that has opened the season with 8 1/3 scoreless innings. New setup man Mike Dunn struck out all three batters he faced looking in the eighth with the Brewers up by a run.
"We know what they can bring in terms of performance, but also what they can do with that group to (liven) everybody up," new Colorado manager Bud Black said.
It has been an especially gratifying start for Holland, the former Royals closer back on the mound after missing the 2016 season following right elbow surgery.
Holland needed a double play started by third baseman Nolan Arenado's diving stop to get the save in the season opener. The ninth inning was a little easier Tuesday.
"I feel healthy. If I feel healthy, I fully expect to do what they ask of me. I'm not worried about getting back to a certain level of getting back to where I was in `12 or `13 or whatever year," Holland said. "I just want to be successful here today and fortunately I was today."
Gerardo Parra and Mark Reynolds, a pair of former Brewers, look comfortable back in Milwaukee, too. Parra's bases-loaded double with the game tied at 1 in a four-run third inning put the Rockies ahead for good.
Reynolds, who is playing first base with Ian Desmond sidelined by a broken left hand, added an RBI double in the fifth.
Ryan Braun homered and doubled for the Brewers. His solo shot in the fourth on a pitch low and away in the zone landed among restaurant-goers sitting on a patio above left field.
Otherwise, the Rockies feasted on Brewers starter Zach Davies (0-1). The right-hander gave up six runs on nine hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings.
"It was a strange game because there was a lot of soft contact that cost him, really," said Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell, who also pointed to Davies getting into some trouble in the third while falling behind in the count.
Travis Shaw doubled twice and had a run and two RBIs for the Brewers off left-handed starter Tyler Anderson. A left-handed hitter with a career .247 average against lefties, Shaw drew the Brewers within 6-4 with a run-scoring grounder in the sixth with runners at second and third.
Shaw's four doubles are a franchise record over the first two games of a season. Asked if Shaw could see regular at-bats against lefties, Counsell said: "What he's shown us so far is certainly that he deserves it."
The Brewers had the potential tying run on third later in the sixth, but Orlando Arcia struck out swinging with two outs against reliever Carlos Estevez.
Anderson (1-0) struck out eight and allowed five runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings for the Rockies.
"Still getting to know Tyler, watching him pitch, watching his stuff. I like the competitive nature of this fella. I like the composure," said Black, who has won his first two games as Rockies skipper.
Brewers opening day starter Junior Guerra was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right calf and the team recalled reliever Brent Suter from Triple-A Colorado Springs. Counsell said Guerra could be out six weeks with what he called a significant strain. ... Milwaukee RHP Matt Garza, on the DL with a right groin injury, threw off a mound before batting practice and could start a rehab stint at Triple-A early next week.
Rockies: RHP Tyler Chatwood, who had a franchise-record 1.69 road ERA last season, makes his first start of the season Wednesday night and his first appearance at Miller Park.
Brewers: RHP Wily Peralta, last season's opening day starter, makes his 2017 debut. Peralta had a 0.71 ERA in three spring training appearances without getting a decision. He also allowed one run in a four-inning start on March 12 in his only appearance in the World Baseball Classic for the Dominican Republic.

Yankees homer twice to back Sabathia in 5-0 win over Rays

For all the talk about a Yankees youth movement, there were a couple of old, familiar faces who keyed New York's first victory.
CC Sabathia was sharp in his season debut and Chase Headley kept up his hot start in Tuesday night's 5-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
The 36-year-old Sabathia, beginning his 17th major league season and the final year of his Yankees contract, limited the team he has faced more than any other to three singles and a pair of walks in five innings.
Headley homered off Jake Odorizzi (0-1) in the sixth inning and added an RBI single through the vacated shortstop hole of a shifted infield in the eighth , making him 5 for 8 in two games. The 32-year-old third baseman started in a lengthy slump last year and did not get his first extra-base hit until May 12.
"It feels a heck of a lot better than it did for a month and a half last year, but there's a long ways to go," said Headley, who joined Ronald Torreyes in going deep against Odorizzi. "Obviously, getting a couple hits early on, it kind of takes the pressure off."
Five relievers finished the five-hitter. Dellin Betances retired Logan Morrison on a bases-loaded grounder that ended the eighth inning and Aroldis Chapman, back with the Yankees after agreeing to an $86 million, five-year contract, threw a perfect ninth.
Traded to the Chicago Cubs by New York last July, Chapman reached 100 mph on four of 14 pitches, including his last, when Daniel Robertson struck out as his bat went flying toward the third-base dugout and into the seats.
"You always want to get that first win of the season," Sabathia said. "This is a young team, a talented team, so it's just going out and playing well."
Most of the offense was supplied by the bottom of the batting order. The 5-foot-8 Torreyes, in the lineup because of a shoulder injury to Didi Gregorius and batting ninth, hit New York's first home run this season, a two-run drive off Jake Odorizzi (0-1) in the third that drove in 6-foot-7 Aaron Judge. Torreyes had to reach for a double high-five after crossing the plate.
Matt Holliday drove in his first run as a Yankee with a third-inning double on a high fly that Peter Bourjos lost track of and dropped by the left-field corner.
"It was up into the rafters, probably higher than any ball I've ever seen hit here," Bourjos said.
Sabathia joined Herb Pennock, Frank Tanana, Tommy John, Jim Kaat, Kenny Rogers, Mike Flanagan, Lefty Grove and David Wells as the only left-handers in AL history to make at least one start in 17 different seasons.
"He gave up what we needed after losing the first game - just shut them down and gave us a chance to build a lead," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
In his 42nd start against the Rays, Sabathia gave up a first-inning single to Evan Longoria and infield hits to Tim Beckham in the fourth and Steven Souza Jr. in the fifth.
"You look at what Sabathia did; he was moving the ball and had everything working," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "There wasn't a pitch that he didn't have or a sequence that we could adjust to. He kept a lot of guys off balance."
Yankees: Girardi said Gregorius, expected to be out until sometime in May due to a right shoulder strain, has started a throwing program.
Rays: OF Colby Rasmus, on the 10-day DL while recovering from hip surgery, did agility drills and ran the bases. He's expected to begin a rehab assignment at Class A Port Charlotte on Thursday.
Cash shuffled his lineup for the second game of the season, with Bourjos, 1B Rickie Weeks Jr. and the rookie Robertson, who started at DH before moving to SS, making their Rays debuts. Relievers Jumbo Diaz and Tommy Hunter also made their initial appearances for the team. Three others - C Derek Norris, LF Mallex Smith and RHP Austin Pruitt - made their debuts on Sunday.
Yankees minor league pitching instructor Nardi Contreras is retiring after 49 years in pro baseball. He appeared in eight games with the Chicago White Sox in 1980, and spent seven seasons as a major league pitching coach with the White Sox, Yankees and Seattle.
RHP Chad Green and LHP Jordan Montgomery, two of the contenders for the Yankees' fifth starter spot, will pitch Thursday night for Class A Tampa because of inclement weather forecast for Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. New York doesn't need a fifth starter until April 16.
Yankees: In Wednesday night's series finale, RHP Michael Pineda will look to stop a career-high, 10-start winless streak dating to a victory over Cleveland on Aug. 5.
Rays: RHP Alex Cobb will go against Pineda. He struggled in five September starts last year, going 1-2 with an 8.59 ERA, following his return from Tommy John surgery that sidelined much of the past two seasons.