Cubs fall to Yankees
CHICAGO (AP) — Brett Gardner lined a slider from Hector Rondon into the right-field bleachers with two outs in the ninth inning for a three-run homer that lifted the New York Yankees over the World Series champion Chicago Cubs 3-2 in a dramatic series opener Friday.
Home runs by Kris Bryant in the first and Kyle Schwarber in the sixth off Michael Pineda staked the Cubs to a 2-0 lead on a 45-degree afternoon with the wind blowing in.
Chase Headley singled with one out in the ninth off Rondon (0-1), pitching after Wade Davis appeared in the previous three games. Jacoby Ellsbury, in his first appearance since injuring an elbow Monday, pinch hit with two outs and walked after a 2-1 pitch at the knees was called a ball by umpire Ryan Blakney.
Gardner fouled off a pair of 1-2 fastballs, took a ball and on his seventh pitch of the at-bat — the 29th to Gardner in the game — he hit his fifth home run of the season, all in the last six games.
Gardner and Rondon were among the few players wearing short-sleeve undershirts on an afternoon some wore ski caps during batting practice, and the contrast could not have been greater.
Gardner pumped his left arm running the bases, and Rondon put both hands on his head.
Aroldis Chapman, who received his World Series ring from the Cubs before the game, had to pitch out of trouble in the bottom half.
Addison Russell reached second when Headley allowed his leadoff grounder to bounce past him and down the left-field line for an error.
Chapman froze Jason Heyward with a breaking ball for a called third strike, retired Willson Contreras on a grounder to Headley, then struck out Javier Baez on a 100 mph fastball for his seventh save in as many chances.
Jonathan Holder (1-0) pitched a one-hit eighth for his first major league victory, helping combine on a four-hitter.