NEW YORK — Michael Pineda won while pitching some noticeable substance on his hand, and Jacoby Ellsbury hit an RBI single off old roommate Clay Buchholz in his first game against the Red Sox as the New York Yankees beat Boston 4-1 Thursday night.
Ellsbury drew all the pregame attention after switching sides in the offseason. But it was the dark brown, seemingly tacky substance on the lower palm of Pineda’s pitching hand that quickly became the focus.
Close-up camera shots clearly showed Pineda (1-1) pitching for the first four innings with something on his hand, and there was speculation it was pine tar to help him get a better grip on a chilly night.
The game was never stopped for an umpire to exam him, and it was gone by the fifth.
Pineda said it was merely dirt, rubbed on his sweaty right hand in-between innings. He said he doesn’t use pine tar.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he didn’t see anything on Pineda’s hand.
“I really don’t have anything to say on the subject,” he said.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said that he found out about the substance only after Pineda’s hand was cleaned up.
“It was not there by the time I was aware of it,” he said.
Pineda (1-1), making his first Yankee Stadium start 27 months after he was acquired from Seattle, took a two-hit shutout into the seventh and appeared completely recovered from the shoulder surgery that sidelined him for two years. Throwing at up to 95 mph, he allowed four hits in his first Yankees’ win, struck out seven and walked two.
Brian McCann ended an 0-for-14 slide with a run-scoring single that put the Yankees ahead during a two-run fourth in the first of 19 games between the rivals this season.