Koehler, CC duel before Marlins nip Yanks

March 8th, 2016
Tom Koehler tossed three strong innings, allowing three hits, striking out one and walking one. (Denis Bancroft/Marlins)

JUPITER, Fla. -- CC Sabathia tossed two hitless innings, and the lefty set the tone as three Yankees relievers followed without allowing a hit before the Marlins were able to break through in the seventh inning.

Don Kelly provided the Marlins with their first hit with two outs in the seventh, and Chris Johnson delivered an RBI single to lift Miami to a 1-0 win on Tuesday at Roger Dean Stadium.

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"It was a good, clean game for us," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Pitchers are always a little bit ahead, it seems like. I don't worry. It's still in that phase where you're going to play a lot of guys. Everybody is going to get a couple of at-bats."

Sabathia and Luis Cessa each threw two innings, while Tyler Olson and Kirby Yates each tossed one, stifling the Marlins.

But Miami rallied off Nick Rumbelow when Derek Dietrich walked, Kelly singled to center, and Johnson collected the game-winning hit.

"Derek walks there, which starts it," Mattingly said. "Then you get a [Kelly] hit, then C.J. gets the big hit. In that kind of game, you need that guy to get on. You don't think about the walk, but the walk is big. They'll talk about C.J. and Don Kelly, but the walk is big."

Sabathia, making his Grapefruit League debut, peppered the strike zone with 85-86 mph fastballs. Of his 25 pitches, 16 were strikes, and Sabathia struck out two while walking one -- Johnson, with two outs in the second.

Sabathia kept the Marlins off their stride, mixing in an occasional breaking ball. He struck out Christian Yelich on a 79-mph curveball to end the first, and elevated an 85-mph fastball that struck out Martin Prado to lead off the second.

"Just to be back out there, it's fun to be competing again, and it went well," Sabathia said.

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Miami's Tom Koehler, in his second Grapefruit League start, tossed three strong innings. The right-hander allowed three hits, including two to Aaron Hicks.

In the third inning, Miami turned a nifty 3-6-1 double play on Chase Headley's grounder to first. Koehler hustled to first to complete the inning-ending play.

Koehler, projected as Miami's No. 3 starter, struck out Headley on a 79-mph curveball in the first inning. New York threatened in the opening frame, collecting a one-out double from Hicks. A stellar defensive play by second baseman Dee Gordon, who made a diving stop on Dustin Ackley's hot grounder, prevented Hicks from scoring.

Up next for the Yankees: The Yankees complete their two-day trip to Florida's east coast when they travel up I-95 to Port St. Lucie to take on the Mets on Wednesday at 1:10 p.m. ET, live on MLB.TV. Right-hander Ivan Nova is scheduled to make his second start of the spring. Nova, who missed the first 71 games last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, gave up two hits and one earned run in his debut Thursday against the Phillies. Right-hander Jacob deGrom will start for the Mets.

Up next for the Marlins: Left-hander Adam Conley, who is competing for a rotation spot, will make his second Grapefruit League start Wednesday in a 1:05 p.m. ET contest against the Cardinals, live on MLB.TV. St. Louis, the home team, will start right-hander Mike Leake. Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who is dealing with a sore right knee, is doubtful to be in the lineup.