MIAMI (AP)—A spacious ballpark. Humid air. A rowdy pack of fans.
Boosted by a flurry of New York fans who flooded the stadium with navy pinstripes, Andy Pettitte(notes) and two relievers combined on a three-hitter as the Yankees beat the Florida Marlins 5-1 on Friday night without a slumping Alex Rodriguez(notes).
Call it Yankee Stadium South.
Pettitte and the rest of the pitching staff could get used to the digs, a nice change to their new stadium in New York, which has become a launching pad for home runs.
“They hit a couple balls tonight that would have been home runs probably at Yankee Stadium,” Pettitte said. “So instead of giving up one run, I might have given up three or four tonight at home.”
With Rodriguez benched for the first time this season with what he and the team called “fatigue,” the Yankees regrouped after two losses at home to the woeful Washington Nationals. Derek Jeter(notes) had two hits after being out of the starting lineup the last two games with a sore left ankle, and Melky Cabrera(notes) homered for New York.
Even without Rodriguez, the Marlins couldn’t shut down the Yankees’ bats.
“It’s a great lineup,” West said. “The best money can buy.”
The Yankees made their rare appearance in Miami with style, helping the attendance-challenged Marlins bring in 35,027 fans, their second best of the season.
The stadium’s orange seats were hardly recognizable as New York transplants came in droves, wearing their Yankees caps and pinstripes and sounding off with roars that are rarely heard for baseball games at the Marlins’ home.
“Let’s Go Yankees!” they cheered, easily drowning out Florida fans.
The spacious grounds also were quite a change for New York. There has been 119 home runs already this season at the new Yankee Stadium, a much harder feat in Miami.
Combine all that with the 5 1/2 hour rain delay in the Yankees’ loss to the Nationals on Thursday night, and it was a pleasant change for New York.
The Yankees looked right at home.
Getting a rare at-bat because of interleague play, Pettitte’s RBI double in the second highlighted a three-run inning for the Yankees, leaving the pitcher gasping for air as he thought about making the turn for third.
“I’ll take the pitching over the bat,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “I know he loves it, but I’ll take the pitching. I was glad he stopped at second.”
Cabrera homered in the fourth to give New York a 5-0 lead, and every Yankees starter had a hit by the fifth inning.
The Yankees were able to slice balls through the thick South Florida air and chase West early. West gave up 10 hits in four-plus innings and struck out seven.
The Yankees even had an extra fan in the dugout.
Rodriguez, who had been set to play his first regular-season game in his hometown of Miami against the Marlins, cheered on the Yankees from the bench. He missed the start of the season following hip surgery and had played in every game since rejoining the team May 8, but Rodriguez and Girardi thought the three-time AL MVP could use two days off.
“It’s an American League lineup,” Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said, “even though their No. 4 hitter was on the bench.” ^Notes: Jeter’s leadoff double in the first tied him with Babe Ruth for the fourth-most doubles in Yankees history with 423. … The Yankees last played in Miami for two exhibition games in 2008. Before that, the Marlins and Yankees hadn’t played in Miami since the 2003 World Series, which Florida won in six games. … Yankees OF Xavier Nady(notes) hopes to start a minor league rehab assignment next week. He played in the field for four innings of an extended spring training game Friday, the first time he has played defense since hurting a ligament in his right elbow while making a throw April 14 at Tampa Bay.