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Bird, Yanks soar past Cards in 7th straight win

April 16, 2017

NEW YORK -- Greg Bird burst out of his 0-for-20 slump, and Michael Pineda handcuffed the Cardinals' offense on Sunday night to lead the Yankees to a 9-3 victory that sealed a three-game Interleague sweep and extended their winning streak to seven games. With the win, the Yankees have opened

NEW YORK -- Greg Bird burst out of his 0-for-20 slump, and Michael Pineda handcuffed the Cardinals' offense on Sunday night to lead the Yankees to a 9-3 victory that sealed a three-game Interleague sweep and extended their winning streak to seven games. With the win, the Yankees have opened the season 6-0 at home for the first time since 1998.
Bird, who had one hit in 30 plate appearances entering the night, reached base four times, most notably with a second-inning blast that put the Yankees ahead, 3-1.
"It's just nice to be back on the board and back to contributing to the team," Bird said.

The Bird home run was one of 10 hits surrendered by Cardinals' starter Adam Wainwright, whose ERA swelled to 7.24 with four runs allowed in 4 2/3 innings. The Yankees might have done more damage against him, too, if not for three double plays turned by the Cardinals.
"Tonight, I fully expected to go nine innings," Wainwright said. "I felt great on the mound. After the first inning, especially, I knew I was going to be locked in and it just didn't work out."

Pineda gave the Yankees their third quality start of the series with seven strong innings. He stranded two in each of the first two innings before settling down and retiring 12 of 13 batters during one mid-game stretch. A Yadier Molina solo homer ended that run.
The Yankees pounded out five more runs in the eighth to put the game out of reach. Miguel Socolovich didn't retire one of the five batters he faced, including Bird, who punctuated his three-hit night with a single. Austin Romine and Ronald Torreyes followed with two-run doubles.

With the loss and a 1-5 road trip, the Cardinals are off to their worst 12-game start (3-9) since 1988.
"When we're playing really clean and we're just getting outplayed, that's one thing," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We've had just a stretch here of some games where mistakes happen and they get capitalized on. We know there's a whole different level of baseball we have in us. Since April started, we haven't really seen that yet."
Taking flight: One pitch after play was paused to determine if Aaron Judge's triple should be reversed to a home run (it wasn't), Bird left no question about the destination of his hit when he crushed a Wainwright fastball a projected 429 feet with an exit velocity of 107.5 mph for his first home run, according to Statcast™.
"I made exactly the same pitch I was trying to throw," Wainwright said. "I threw a sinker that started off the plate and came back in. Usually, most hitters will take that. He's been grinding trying to find hits. Tonight, he broke out of that."
"It was a fastball. ... I'm always trying to hit off the fastball," Bird said.

Stranded: The Cardinals didn't have a plethora of offensive chances, but they did briefly stir against setup man Dellin Betances in the eighth. A two-out hit and walk brought up Matt Adams as the potential go-ahead run. He went down swinging on the three pitches to end the inning, just as he had in the first with two runners on.
"We had some opportunities, especially there with Adams up, a couple guys on," Matheny said. "It was an opportunity to take the lead. We were seeing some good things happen, but they made pitches when they had to."
"We started off bad in '11, but we never lost that mojo. We always felt like we were going to eventually come in and start winning every game, and we did. We're going to keep showing up with those expectations, and we're eventually going to stinking do it." -- Wainwright, on the team's slow start

With his strikeout of Jacoby Ellsbury in the third inning, Wainwright joined Bob Gibson as the only pitchers in Cardinals history to notch 1,500 strikeouts. Wainwright, who finished with four strikeouts in the game, is one of 20 active pitchers to have reached that milestone.

The Yankees' winning streak is the longest in the Majors. They also had seven-game winning streaks in 2015 and '16, but they last surpassed that total in '12 when they won 10 in a row. Yankees starting pitchers have an aggregate 2.54 ERA during the seven-game winning streak.
Judge's bid for a go-ahead two-run homer in the second inning ended up being ruled a run-scoring triple because of fan interference. The spectator, seated in the first row in right center field, reached out with a baseball glove and touched the ball; he didn't make the catch and it landed in play. Umpires halted Judge at third base. The play was reviewed for 2:56 but there was no definitive angle that showed the ball would have gotten over the fence before it was touched, so the call stood.
Said Judge: "I never saw a good angle of it but that's why we have replay. I thought it was a home run but it ends up my first career triple so I don't mind."

Cardinals: The Cardinals return to St. Louis for a three-game homestand that begins Monday against the Pirates. First pitch is scheduled for 6:08 p.m. CT. Lance Lynn will be making his third start of the season and 18th of his career against Pittsburgh. He is 5-5 with a 4.74 ERA versus the Pirates.
Yankees: The Yankees open a three-game set with the White Sox on Monday night at Yankee Stadium with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET. Lefthander Jordan Montgomery will be making the second start of his season and career. Designated hitter Matthew Holliday is anticipated to start for the first time since Friday after being held out of the lineup over the weekend with back stiffness.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast.

Roger Rubin is a contributor to based in New York.