NEW YORK -- David Phelps didn’t have his best stuff Saturday.
His breaking pitches weren’t sharp, and he needed 50 pitches to navigate through the first two innings of his outing.
But Phelps was able to pick up his first win since July 4, 2013, grinding through five scoreless innings.
“At the end of the day, it was five zeroes, and I’ll take that as a positive,” Phelps said after the Yankees tied their season high with five home runs in their 7-1 victory over the Pirates at the Stadium.
Phelps (1-0), who ended up throwing 100 pitches total, worked around three walks and five hits. He struck out five.
The 27-year-old starter has yet to give up a run this season at home (9.1 innings, five games).
Over the past three games, Yankees pitchers have yielded just one run. They had thrown 23 consecutive scoreless innings before Starling Marte blasted a solo home run off Dellin Betances leading off the sixth. It was just a blemish, though.
“He had good success against me in the minors,” Betances said of Marte. “It was funny, I told myself before the game in the bullpen I’m not gonna throw him a fastball. But we were up 3-0 so I threw him a fastball, and he hit a home run. It happens. It’s part of the game. I was able to settle in from there and make pitches.”
Betances threw two innings and struck out three. Twenty-six of his past 41 outs have been recorded via the K.
Betances (1.85 ERA, 24 1/3 innings) and Warren (1.48, 24 1/3), each of them a starter turned reliever, have both been sensational for the Yankees this season. Their transitions to the bullpen have been seamless, and Joe Girardi has done a good job managing their innings. Girardi said he makes sure not to tax his relievers so they can be available not only later in the season, but also in seasons to come.
With a single-admission doubleheader looming Sunday, having to go to the bullpen for four innings wasn’t exactly ideal. But given that they’ve now won three straight games to improve to 22-19 overall, Girardi and the Yankees will take it.