Yankees seek first 5-0 home start since 2000 against Cardinals


NEW YORK -- A week ago, the New York Yankees were off to bad start and their starting catcher was injured.

A week later, the Yankees are rolling.

The Yankees attempt to run their winning streak to six games Saturday afternoon when they face the struggling St. Louis Cardinals.

New York is off to its first 4-0 start at home since the 2003 season. A win on Saturday would make the Yankees 5-0 at home for the first time since 2000.

"I think it's always important to play extremely well at home because your club ideally is built around your park," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "So I think it's important. We've won some close games, which I think are extremely important and we've had some come from behind wins, which I think are extremely important. So it's good to get off to a good start."

The streak began with a late-inning comeback in Baltimore on Sunday and the Yankees scored 16 runs in two wins over the Tampa Bay Rays. New York kept its streak in place by winning two low-scoring games, following Thursday's 3-2 win with a 4-3 win on Friday night.

Starlin Castro hit a two-run homer and Austin Romine hit a solo home run. Those hits were enough because the Yankees continued getting good pitching.

Masahiro Tanaka gave up a two-run homer to Matt Carpenter with one out in the first and Aroldis Chapman delivered his 30th straight scoreless appearance.

The Cardinals are off to their first 3-7 start since 1997. St. Louis also has a losing record through its first 10 games for the third time since 1997.

"I'm not concerned at all," said St. Louis second baseman Kolten Wong, who is hitting .148 and made a key throwing error. "We've played 10 games.

"We're just going through a little rut right now. We're just trying to figure out a way to turn it around."

St. Louis is hitting .215 and has scored 37 runs so far. The only regular hitting higher than .250 is Aledmys Diaz, who is 12-for-40 (.300).

"We let them get through and mistakes hurt us right now, you go through those parts of the season where mistakes seem to be very crucial and every missed opportunity seems to be the one, but we'll get it figured out," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.

"We haven't got hot at all really yet and so get our offense going, get those big shut down innings and just put it all together, we haven't really done that yet."

St. Louis will attempt to turn it around against CC Sabathia. The left-hander is 2-0 with a 2.61 ERA in three starts against the Cardinals, though he has not faced them since 2008 when he carried the Milwaukee Brewers to a playoff berth.

Sabathia is 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA through two starts so far. He pitched in the first game of New York's winning streak when he allowed three runs and six hits in six innings of an eventual 7-3 win.

"It's just the first week," Sabathia said after his last start. "But I felt fine this was a game we needed to win. And we came out with the win."

The Cardinals possess a 4.72 ERA and will send Carlos Martinez to the mound for his third start.

He will look to continue his success in April since becoming a starting pitcher two years ago. He is 7-1 with a 2.17 ERA in 10 April starts.

On Sunday, Martinez was handed his first defeat in April when he allowed six runs and six hits in five-plus innings of an 8-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. The rough start to the Reds occurred after Martinez fanned 10 in 7 1/3 shutout innings against the Chicago Cubs on April 2.

"It just looked like he had trouble really putting it where he wanted to. That's the difference between today and a week ago," Matheny said.

"He was so sharp, putting pitches where he wanted to, had behind-in-the-count changeups when he wanted them and sliders, and even just some missed locations on the fastball at times."

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