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After rough start, Volquez settles down vs. Yanks

Pirates right-hander allows four early runs, while offense comes up empty

TAMPA, Fla. -- CC Sabathia enjoyed another commanding tuneup, firing seven scoreless innings as the Yankees defeated the Pirates, 4-0, on Friday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

The left-hander scattered four hits and struck out seven as he works toward his Opening Day assignment on April 1 against the Astros in Houston.

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The Yankees connected for four runs and five hits in five innings against Pittsburgh right-hander Edinson Volquez. Brian McCann had a first-inning RBI double and Carlos Beltran scored on a wild pitch, building an early New York lead.

Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter added run-scoring groundouts in the second inning against Volquez, who walked two and struck out four.

That was plenty for Sabathia, who kicked it into cruise control and did not allow an extra-base hit, getting 10 outs on the ground. Sabathia's outing followed five hitless innings his last time out against the Marlins in Panama.

Sabathia's fastball velocity has been a consistent topic of the Yankees' spring, but manager Joe Girardi said that his focus is more on what the opposing hitters do against Sabathia. He threw 55 of 89 pitches for strikes, touched 91 mph and sat mostly at 88-89 mph.

Up next: A.J. Burnett comes calling at McKechnie Field, as the former Pirates ace faces his ex-teammates at 1:05 p.m. ET on Gameday Audio. Stolmy Pimentel will oppose him on the mound. Third baseman Pedro Alvarez, who sat out Friday night's game, figures to be one of the few Pittsburgh regulars in the starting lineup. Starling Marte, scratched Friday due to headaches, could also get the call if he feels better.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Edinson Volquez