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  • Controversy looms over Pineda in win

  • NEW YORK — This much is clear: Michael Pineda had a dark substance smudged on his pitching hand during his first win for the New York Yankees.
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  • NEW YORK — This much is clear: Michael Pineda had a dark substance smudged on his pitching hand during his first win for the New York Yankees.
    Pine tar or dirt? We might never know.
    Pineda took a two-hit shutout into the seventh inning, and Jacoby Ellsbury hit an RBI single off old roommate Clay Buchholz in his first game against the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees' 4-1 victory Thursday night left a bit of a mystery: Were Pineda's pitches plain old nasty, or was something more sinister involved?
    "It's dirt," Pineda said. "Between the innings, I'm sweating too much, my hand. I'm putting dirt — I'm grasping the dirt. ... I'm not using pine tar."
    Ellsbury drew all the pregame attention after switching sides in the rivalry during the offseason. But it was the dark brown, seemingly tacky substance on the lower palm of Pineda's right hand that became the focus.
    Close-up camera shots showed Pineda (1-1) pitching during the early 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 examine him, and it whatever it was, it was gone by the fifth.
    "I became aware of it in the fourth inning through the video that someone had seen," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "And then, when he came back out for the fifth inning, it looked, based on where it was told to me it was located, it looked like the palm of his right hand was clean."
    Buchholz and fellow Red Sox ace Jon Lester both attracted questions last year about substances they had on the mound, but nothing came of them.
    "The Red Sox didn't bring it to our attention, so there's nothing we can do about it," umpire crew chief Brian O'Nora said. "If they bring it to our attention, then you've got to do something."
    Yankees manager Joe Girardi essentially repeated the same answer five times during his postgame news conference.
    "I never saw it. There's nothing really for me to talk about," he said.
    White Sox 7, Indians 3
    At Chicago, rookie Jose Abreu connected for his second multihomer game in three days and the Chicago White Sox ended a 14-game losing streak against Cleveland.
    Abreu hit tape-measure drives in the second and fifth innings and drove in three runs. The Cuban slugger hit the first two homers of his major league career Tuesday in Colorado.
    Abreu has four homers and 14 RBIs in 10 games.
    Alexi Ramirez homered and drove in three runs for Chicago. The Indians had outscored the White Sox 102-45 in a streak that dated to last June.
    John Danks (1-0) overcame a rocky start. Indians starter Danny Salazar (0-1) struck out 10 in 32/3 innings, but also gave up five runs and six hits.
    Astros 6, Blue Jays 4
    At Toronto, Robbie Grossman and Jonathan Villar homered off R.A. Dickey and the Houston Astros avoided a three-game sweep by beating Toronto.
    Dallas Keuchel (1-1) allowed one run and five hits in seven innings. Anthony Bass got his first save.
    Villar hit a three-run homer, Grossman had a two-run shot and Jason Castro added a solo drive.
    The Astros prepared to face Dickey (1-2) and his knucklers by taking swings in an indoor cage before the game against former major league knuckleballer Steve Sparks, now a Houston radio announcer.
    Athletics 6, Twins 1
    At Minneapolis, Dan Straily pitched three-hit ball for seven innings and Sam Fuld hit a rare home run to help the Oakland Athletics complete a three-game sweep over Minnesota.
    Straily (1-1) gave up one run and struck out five. The Athletics have gone nine straight games to start the season without their starter allowing more than three runs.
    Fuld hit just his sixth homer in 738 career plate appearances and singled. Josh Donaldson also hit a two-run homer.
    Mike Pelfrey (0-2) gave up six runs on nine hits and four walks in five innings.
    Brian Dozier hit his third home run of the season for Minnesota.
    National League
    Nationals 7, Marlins 1
    At Chicago, Pedro Alvarez hit a three-run homer to cap a five-run seventh inning and Jason Grilli retired Emilio Bonifacio on a bases-loaded grounder to end the game, giving Pittsburgh the edge over Chicago.
    The Pirates trailed 4-0 heading into the seventh, but two big drives changed things.
    Pinch hitter Travis Snider cut the deficit in half with a two-run homer off Brian Schlitter. Alvarez put Pittsburgh ahead with his three-run drive against James Russell (0-1), his third homer in two games.
    Chicago threatened in the bottom of the ninth before Grilli retired Bonifacio on a grounder to first. The Pirates took two of three at Wrigley Field.
    That gave the Pirates their third series win — the most for them to start the season since the 1992 team took its first six.
    Nationals 7, Marlins 1
    At Washington, Stephen Strasburg struck out 12 in 62/3 innings on a day Washington really needed to rest its relievers, and Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond homered, leading the Nationals past Miami for a three-game sweep.
    Strasburg (1-1) got 14 consecutive outs in one stretch and allowed only three hits, including Marcell Ozuna's homer in the seventh. The right-hander's lone walk was to the last batter he faced.
    Washington's starter Wednesday, Jordan Zimmermann, left after a career-low 12/3 innings, leaving the bullpen "taxed," as manager Matt Williams put it. The Nationals won that game 10-7 on Werth's go-ahead grand slam in the eighth, and this time he connected in the third — a two-run shot off Tom Koehler (1-1) that put Washington ahead 2-0.
    Brewers 6, Phillies 2
    At Philadelphia, Carlos Gomez had three hits with an RBI and Milwaukee extended its winning to six games with a victory over Philadelphia.
    The Brewers' wins have all come on the road during the streak. They came to Philadelphia following a three-game sweep at defending World Series champion Boston.
    They battered the Phillies with 25 runs and 38 hits in the three-game sweep. Milwaukee has batted .320 and has outscored opponents 42-18 during the streak.
    Ryan Braun had two hits and an RBI, ending the series 6 for 12 with 10 RBIs while increasing his lifetime total to 24 RBIs in 21 games at Citizens Bank Park. Braun opened the series by homering three times in Tuesday's 10-4 win.
    Khris Davis had two hits and two RBIs for the Brewers, who return home to host Pittsburgh on Friday night. Milwaukee's 6-0 road start is its best since starting the 1987 season 7-0.
    Marco Estrada (1-0) allowed two runs and five hits in six innings, striking out six and walking two, to earn the victory.
    Marlon Byrd homered and had two RBIs for the Phillies, who lost their fourth straight.
    Mets 6, Braves 4
    At Atlanta, Eric Young Jr. got three hits, stole three bases and scored four times and New York overcame Justin Upton's two home runs to beat Atlanta.
    The Mets broke a 4-all tie in the seventh. Luis Avilan (1-1) gave up a leadoff single to Daniel Murphy, who scored on a two-out single by Juan Lagares off Gus Schlosser. Murphy drove in three runs with three hits.
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