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Ichiro front and center in CC's spotless effort

Outfielder raps three hits to lead Yanks' offense as Opening Day starter tunes up

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Ichiro Suzuki collected three hits and scored two runs Thursday, backing CC Sabathia's four innings of scoreless pitching as the Yankees downed the Pirates, 4-2, at McKechnie Field.

Sabathia allowed three hits without a walk or a strikeout as he completed his preseason work with an ERA of 1.29 over 21 innings. He had blanked the Pirates for seven innings in his previous Grapefruit League start, on Friday.

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"I worked hard and I look to pitch well every time no matter what, Spring Training or the World Series," said Sabathia, who posted a 1.29 ERA this spring. "I'm glad that I pitched well. Now it's time to clean the slate and start the season."

For the Pirates, it was their final Grapefruit League game in Florida this spring, as they finished play with a record of 14-9-2 and drew 91,046 fans to 12 home games. The average of 7,587 is a new club record, breaking last spring's 6,229.

Ichiro led off the first with a single off Stolmy Pimentel and eventually scored on Mark Teixeira's grounder. The Yankees added another run that inning on Zoilo Almonte's single.

New York doubled its lead to 4-0 in the fourth on RBI singles by Ichiro and Eduardo Nunez.

Up next: Hiroki Kuroda will make his fourth appearance and third start of the spring on Friday against the Marlins at 7:05 p.m. ET, taking the mound at George M. Steinbrenner Field in a tuneup for his Wednesday start against the Astros in Houston. Right-hander Jacob Turner has the ball for Miami.

Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer.

New York Yankees, CC Sabathia, Ichiro Suzuki