HOUSTON (AP) — Derek Jeter began the first game of his final season by getting plunked with a pitch. The Astros then beat up on CC Sabathia even worse, ensuring the captain's farewell tour would start with a Yankees' loss.
Jesus Guzman and L.J. Hoes homered off Sabathia to help the Houston Astros roll to a 6-2 win against New York on Tuesday night. "Trying to get your first win, your first hit, your first run, anything is kind of difficult to do," Jeter said. "The first, sometimes, is tough to come by."
Jeter was hit on the left arm by Scott Feldman in his first at-bat and ended 1 for 3 with a single. The 13-time All-Star who helped New York to five World Series titles announced in February we would retire after his 20th season.
"I was a little extra anxious because I hadn't played in a while, but when I got hit, I think that actually helped," said Jeter, who missed most of last season with injuries. The Astros added Dexter Fowler and Feldman to improve a team coming off three straight 100-loss seasons. On the first day, it worked.
Fowler had two doubles as Houston jumped on Sabathia for six runs in the first two innings. Feldman allowed two hits in 6 2-3 innings in his Houston debut after signing a three-year, $30 million contract
"This entire spring leading up to opening day we built that vibe up where these guys are confident, they're playing with a lot of energy, focus," manager Bo Porter said. "The attention to detail is outstanding. Everybody wants to get out to a good start."
Sabathia led the majors last season with 122 runs allowed and finished with a career-worst 4.78 ERA. Things went bad for him from the start on Monday night in a matchup of the league's youngest vs. oldest rosters.
"It got out of hand early," Sabathia said. "I've got 34 — hopefully more — starts left. I'm definitely not going to pitch like I did tonight in the first two innings. I know I can pitch. I love to get guys out. I feel great, so no I'm not going to beat myself up over this."
Yankees' manager Joe Girardi tried not to make too much of the loss. "Well, it's not what you want, but I had a feeling we were going to lose a game at some point this year," he said. "So, we got it out of the way early."
Fowler, traded from Colorado this offseason, hit a leadoff double and scored on a one-out single by Jose Altuve that rolled just out of reach of a diving Jeter and into the outfield. Altuve made it 2-0 when he scored on a fielder's choice by Jason Castro later in the inning.
Things got worse for Sabathia when Guzman launched the first pitch he saw with the Astros into left-center field for a two-run homer to push the lead to 4-0. Hoes — making his opening day debut — opened the second inning with a home run to left field. Altuve made it 6-0 with an RBI single.
Sabathia allowed eight hits and six runs in six innings. The Yankees couldn't do much offensively until the eighth inning when Brian McCann and Mark Teixeira hit consecutive RBI singles off Chad Qualls to make it 6-2. Qualls got out of the inning when Alfonso Soriano grounded into a double play
For the first time since 1947 and just the second time in team history, every position except pitcher had a different player on opening day than it did in New York's previous opener. The Yankees began 2013 with a loss to Boston and among those who have either moved on or to the bench are star second baseman Robinson Cano (who signed with Seattle) and aging outfielder Ichiro Suzuki (now a reserve for New York).
Brett Gardner was the only player in both lineups, though he moved from center to left to make room Jacoby Ellsbury, one of several newly acquired star for the Yankees. Feldman sailed through the first three innings against the new Bronx Bombers and New York's first hit didn't come until Carlos Beltran singled with one out in the fourth. He didn't allow another baserunner until Teixeira singled with one out in the seventh.
NOTES: Former President George H.W. Bush and wife Barbara watched the game from front row seats behind the dugout. ... Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, who returned to the Astros as an executive advisor in February, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Craig Biggio. The pitch was terrible, flying far out of Biggio's reach. "I tell you, my catcher didn't try," Ryan joked. "That ball wasn't that far outside and he just didn't get over."