NEW YORK — Chase Headley hit a tiebreaking single that deflected off the wrist of reliever Brett Cecil, and the New York Yankees rallied for three runs in the eighth inning to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3 Wednesday night.
Michael Pineda pitched six solid innings for the Yankees on a frigid night, and Jacoby Ellsbury scored twice and reached base safely all four times up. New York took advantage of mistakes by Toronto’s bullpen, fighting back from a two-run deficit for its first victory of the season after knuckleballer R.A. Dickey gave the Blue Jays 6 1-3 effective innings.
Andrew Miller worked a perfect ninth for the save in his Yankees debut, the second of his big league career, before New York’s smallest crowd for a home game in 11 years.
Toronto pushed its lead to 3-1 in the eighth when Jose Bautista scored on a throwing error by catcher Brian McCann. But the bullpen couldn’t hold it.
Pinch-hitter Chris Young opened the bottom half with a bloop double that eluded rookie second baseman Devon Travis.
Ellsbury singled, and Aaron Loup (0-1) loaded the bases when he hit Brett Gardner with a pitch.
Young scored on a wild pitch by Cecil, who forced in the tying run when he plunked McCann with a pitch.
Headley hit a one-hopper that caromed off Cecil’s right wrist and past shortstop to give the Yankees a 4-3 lead.
Dellin Betances (1-0) got the win.
Many players wore knit hats and hooded sweat shirts during batting practice, and the game began in a steady drizzle on a 44-degree night at a mostly empty Yankee Stadium. The announced crowd of 31,020 was New York’s smallest at home since Sept. 23, 2004, at the old ballpark across 161st St.
The rain soon stopped, but the wind picked up and the raw chill never dissipated.
Pitching in short sleeves, Pineda held the Blue Jays to two runs and six hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked one.
The last time Pineda took the mound on a cold April night, he was caught using pine tar in Boston to get a better grip and suspended 10 games.
“I’m sure we’ll have a lot of eyes on him tonight,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said with a chuckle. “I think he understands, yes. I hope.”
Alex Rodriguez went 0 for 4 in his second game since returning from a yearlong drug suspension. With the Yankees already ahead, he struck out with the bases loaded in the eighth against 20-year-old Roberto Osuna, who was making his major league debut.