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Everything working for Pineda in 10-K start

Yankees righty throws seven scoreless innings against Rays

NEW YORK -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi and catcher John Ryan Murphy were asked about what had worked for starting pitcher Michael Pineda on Saturday in the Yankees' 3-2 walk-off victory over the Rays.

"Pretty much everything," Girardi said.

"Everything," added Murphy.

And indeed it was one of those days when everything seemed to click for the right-hander.

Though he finished with a no-decision after standout reliever Dellin Betances gave up a two-run homer in the ninth -- the first home run Betances has allowed since Aug. 13, 2014 -- Pineda threw seven scoreless innings and racked up 10 strikeouts for his fourth career double-digit strikeout performance.

He's now registered at least nine strikeouts in three of his last six starts.

"His slider was good, his changeup was really good and I thought his fastball was extremely effective," Girardi said. "I thought he located well."

Murphy said it was the slider that he thought carried Pineda. And despite Pineda working at a slower pace for the first two innings, Murphy saw him turn a corner by the time the third and fourth innings rolled around.

"I think he was lights out after that," Murphy said.

For Pineda -- who was all smiles after the Yankees' dramatic ninth inning -- everything with his arm feels good as he has been careful with his shoulder to prevent injury.

In 2011, he tossed 171 innings with the Mariners, but Pineda then spent chunks of 2012, '13 and '14 either on the disabled list or rehabbing.

"I'm feeling good and I want to pitch," he said through a grin Saturday. "I love pitching."

Though there was a part of him that wanted to continue into the eighth inning, Pineda said he understood when Girardi pulled him for Betances.

The homer Betances allowed to Steven Souza Jr. in the ninth stripped Pineda of the chance to get a win and shocked the Yankees because of how dominant Betances has been. He snapped a streak of 54 games without giving up a homer.

But Pineda didn't mind. The Yankees had won and he had set the stage earlier.

"It all starts with the guy on the mound. Big Mike was great," outfielder Brett Gardner said. "I had a pretty good view from center field, and that's the best stuff I've seen him have all year, probably. Lot of fun to watch and play defense behind."

Grace Raynor is an associate reporter for
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