HOUSTON — New York Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi admitted he didn’t know anything about Yangervis Solarte when he was signed to a minor league deal in January.
The rookie is quickly teaching his manager all about himself.
Solarte had three hits and an RBI in his first major league start and Derek Jeter drove in a run to give the New York Yankees their first win this season, 4-2 over the Houston Astros on Thursday night.
“You have to give a lot of credit to our scouting department and front office for finding this kid because he gives us a lot of options being a switch-hitter and can play all over the infield,” Girardi said.
The 26-year-old Solarte has spent time in the minors with Minnesota and Texas, but never got called up until this season after hitting .429 this spring.
“I’ve worked very hard for this, and to be able to help the team, that’s even better,” Solarte said in Spanish through a translator. “These are the small things that are key.”
Solarte singled in a two-run third inning which put New York up 2-1. He doubled in the fifth and scored on a single by Jeter to push it to 3-1.
Houston cut the lead to one in the bottom of that inning before Solarte came through again, this time with a single that drove in Ichiro Suzuki.
Solarte, the third baseman, also had a nifty defensive play when he grabbed a bullet hit right at him by Jose Altuve in the eighth.
Ivan Nova allowed six hits, two runs and walked five in 5 2-3 innings. He was helped by a defense which turned four double plays with him on the mound.
“This could have been a game where he gave up a lot of runs without those double play balls,” Girardi said. “He made big pitches when he had to.”
David Robertson, who took over as closer for Mariano Rivera, pitched a perfect ninth for his first save.
Dexter Fowler continued to shine in his first season with the Astros, getting two singles to become the second player in franchise history — and first since Ken Caminiti in 1987 — to begin his Houston career with three straight multi-hit games.
“We had our chances, especially early on there,” Houston manager Bo Porter said. “I think we hit into four double plays in the first five innings. We had baserunners everywhere. It was probably one big hit away from getting some separation early in the game.”
Houston starter Brett Oberholtzer also went 5 2-3 innings, allowing five hits and three runs while fanning five.
Suzuki doubled with two outs in the seventh before scoring on the RBI by Solarte. Solarte’s hit was a high pop-up which dropped right between three Astros players assembled directly in front of home plate.
Solarte doubled with one out in the fifth and scored on a two-out single by Jeter to make it 3-1. Jeter was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double.
Houston got to 3-2 when Jonathan Villar doubled and scored on a single by Fowler in the bottom of the inning. The fourth double play by the Yankees got the first two outs before Chris Carter grounded out to end the inning.
Oberholtzer retired the first seven batters he faced before running into trouble. Suzuki and Solarte hit consecutive singles before a third one by Brett Gardner scored Suzuki to tie it at 1-all.
Jeter walked and Carlos Beltran’s sacrifice fly scored Solarte to give New York a 2-1 lead.
Fowler and Grossman hit back-to-back singles to start the first before Nova plunked Castro to load the bases. Altuve grounded into a forceout that left Castro out at second and scored Fowler to make it 1-0.
Carter walked to load the bases again, but the Yankees turned a double play to limit the damage. The Yankees also used double plays to get out of the third and fourth innings.
Castro was also hit by a pitch in the third inning to become the first Astro since Brad Ausmus on April 7, 2007, to be hit twice in a game. He remained in the game before being replaced by Carlos Corporan in the top of the sixth with a bruise on his right foot. X-rays were negative and he is day to day.
RED SOX 4, ORIOLES 2
BALTIMORE — David Ortiz had three of Boston’s 12 hits off Wei-Yin Chen, and the Red Sox got an effective pitching performance from Felix Doubront and four relievers.
Xander Bogaerts also had three hits for the Red Sox, who took two of three in the season-opening series between AL East rivals. Boston finished with 14 hits, 12 of them singles.
Matt Wieters had three hits for the Orioles, and Chris Davis had two hits and scored twice.
Doubront (1-0) allowed two runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings, and Boston’s bullpen maintained its 0.00 ERA with 3 1-3 innings of three-hit relief. Koji Uehara needed only seven pitches to retire the side in the ninth for his first save.
Chen (0-1) gave up four runs in 5 2-3 innings.
RAYS 7, BLUE JAYS 2
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Chris Archer threw six solid innings, Evan Longoria hit a three-run homer and Tampa Bay split a four-game series with Toronto.
Archer (1-0) allowed two runs and four hits in his first start since he agreed to a $25.5 million, six-year deal Wednesday. The contract includes club options for 2020 and 2021 that could raise the value to $43.75 million.
Longoria tied Carlos Pena for first on the Rays’ career home run list with 163 on his seventh-inning shot off Esmil Rogers that put Tampa Bay ahead 7-2.
Toronto’s Brandon Morrow (0-1) gave up four runs and seven hits over five innings in his first start since May 28.
TWINS 10, WHITE SOX 9
CHICAGO — Chris Colabello had a career-high six RBIs, Oswaldo Arcia hit a go-ahead triple and Minnesota avoided a season-opening sweep.
Trailing 9-8 heading into the ninth, the Twins scored twice off Chicago closer Matt Lindstrom (0-1), who blew his first save chance in two opportunities. Trevor Plouffe hit a tying RBI single with two outs before Arcia’s triple off the wall in center gave Minnesota a 10-9 lead.
Glen Perkins picked up his first save after squandering Minnesota’s lead Wednesday. He got Paul Konerko to ground to third to end the game, giving manager Ron Gardenhire his 999th career win.
Caleb Thielbar (1-0) allowed Marcus Semien’s go-ahead homer in the eighth.
Cardinals stop Reds
CINCINNATI —The St. Louis Cardinals overcame another long delay and Todd Frazier’s two homers, holding on to beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-6 and take two of three in their season-opening series.
The first pitch was delayed 3 hours, 42 minutes because of rain. The Cardinals then emerged from their two-game hitting slump by knocking Homer Bailey (0-1) out of the game in the fifth inning. Jhonny Peralta homered to get it going.
Lance Lynn (1-0) gave up Jay Bruce’s two-run homer and Frazier’s solo shot during five innings.
GIANTS 8, DIAMONDBACKS 5
PHOENIX — Angel Pagan hit a three-run home run in San Francisco’s five-run eighth inning and the Giants rallied to beat Arizona in a game that was halted briefly in the top of the first due to a swarm of bees in the outfield.
Paul Goldschmidt and Mark Trumbo each hit two-run home runs and Arizona led 5-3 after seven, but the Giants teed off on reliever Will Harris (0-1) in the eighth to take three of four games from the Diamondbacks.
Brandon Belt hit his third home run of the series and Brandon Hicks had a pinch-hit solo shot for the Giants.
Jean Machi (2-0) got one out for the victory.
NATIONALS 8, METS 2
NEW YORK — Tanner Roark recovered from a shaky first inning as an emergency starter in place of ailing Jordan Zimmermann, and the Nationals rallied past the Mets for an opening three-game sweep.
Ryan Zimmerman tied his career high with four hits.
Zimmermann, 19-9 last year, was fine Wednesday but developed a fever overnight and was throwing up.
Roark (1-0) got just two swings and misses in the first two innings and fell behind in a 30-pitch first. He wound up allowing just the two runs and six hits in six innings with three walks and five strikeouts — including his final four batters.
Wheeler (0-1) gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings.
MARLINS 8, ROCKIES 5
MIAMI — Giancarlo Stanton singled home the go-ahead run with two outs in the eighth inning, capping a comeback to help the Marlins beat the Rockies.
Casey McGehee had two hits and three RBIs for the Marlins, who scored 27 runs while winning three of four games in the season-opening series.
The Marlins were 1 for 15 with runners in scoring position for the afternoon before Christian Yelich made the score 5-all in the eighth with a two-out RBI single off Matt Belisle (0-1).
A.J. Ramos (1-0) pitched a perfect eighth. Steve Cishek followed with a scoreless ninth for his 31st consecutive converted save opportunity, and his second this year.
CUBS 3, PIRATES 2
PITTSBURGH — Jason Hammel pitched two-hit ball into the seventh inning and the Cubs edged the Pirates for their first win of the season.
Hammel (1-0) allowed a run, struck out five and walked one in 6 2-3 innings to help the Cubs avoid their worst start in 17 years.
Emilio Bonifacio went 2 for 4 and scored twice to continue his torrid start. The Chicago center fielder hit 11 for 16 (.688) during the opening three-game series.
Wandy Rodriguez (0-1) struggled early in his first start in 10 months but settled down late. The left-hander allowed three runs on five hits with a walk and five strikeouts.