2/27/2014 4:01 P.M. ET
Polanco, Rojas homer as Pirates top Yanks
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
TAMPA, Fla. -- Gregory Polanco and Mel Rojas Jr. homered on Thursday, leading the Pirates past the Yankees, 8-2, in a contest that was highlighted by Derek Jeter's spring debut.
Planco gave the Bucs an early lead with a solo shot off David Phelps in the first inning. Rojas broke a 2-2 tie with a three-run shot off Robert Coello in the eighth, highlighting a five-run frame for Pittsburgh.
Matt Hague also drilled a two-run single off Coello as the Pirates improved to 2-0 this spring, spoiling the Yankees' Grapefruit League home opener at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Jeter started at shortstop and went 0-for-2 at the plate, playing in his first game of any kind since last Sept. 7. He grounded into a double play after working an eight-pitch at-bat in the first inning, then legged out a groundout to third base in the fourth inning. Brendan Ryan replaced Jeter at short in the top of the sixth.
Jeter showed no signs of favoring his surgically repaired left ankle, a good sign for a Yankees team that is counting on Jeter to be its Opening Day shortstop in what will be his final Major League season.
Pirates right-hander Charlie Morton started his spring with two innings of scoreless, no-hit work. Morton walked one and struck out one. Jeff Locke followed with a pair of scoreless frames, pitching around a Brett Gardner infield single.
Phelps recorded four strikeouts -- all looking -- in two innings of work, scattering two hits with no walks, as he kicks off a bid to serve as the Yankees' fifth starter.
The Yankees tied the game in the fifth on back-to-back doubles by Francisco Cervelli and Kelly Johnson. Chris Dickerson gave the Pirates a lead with an RBI single in the top of the sixth, and John Ryan Murphy answered with a run-scoring single in the home half of the inning.
Up next: The Pirates stay on the road to travel to Dunedin, Fla., to take on the Blue Jays, with Gerrit Cole due to start and Jameson Taillon scheduled to follow him to the mound. An interesting sequence, since the two right-handers were rated the Majors' best tandem of pitching prospects in 2012. Cole surfaced in the big leagues last season, and Taillon's turn could come this summer.