Yankees' bats quiet again in second loss in row to Astros

Yankees' Brian Roberts leaves the field after striking Yankees' Brian Roberts leaves the field after striking out against the Houston Astros in the ninth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, April 2, 2014, in Houston. Photo Credit: AP / Pat Sullivan

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HOUSTON - Tuesday night CC Sabathia's lousy first two innings commanded center stage as the primary cause of an Opening Night loss.

Wednesday night the Yankees offense had the spotlight all to itself, barely registering a pulse in a 3-1 loss to the Astros in front of 23,145 at Minute Maid Park.

The loss dropped the Yankees to 0-2 against the young Astros, who won 51 games last season. The Bombers, who have totaled three runs, will try to avoid a sweep Thursday night when Ivan Nova takes the mound against lefthander Brett Oberholtzer. They then head to Toronto for a weekend series,

"It's an important game because obviously you want to get on that side of the column and you want to start putting some wins together," Joe Girardi said.

The night started on a high note for the Yankees as Derek Jeter was honored before the game in a ceremony that included Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens .

"It was nice," Jeter said. "It was nice that they took the time to honor me. What probably caught me off guard was when the Astro guys came out [of the dugout] my first at-bat. Much appreciated."

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But it was an otherwise down evening as the Yankees, who were shut out for five innings by Astros righthander Jarred Cosart and managed one run against four relievers.

"We're going to be fine," Carlos Beltran said. "We haven't been able to put anything together, but offensively I think we have what it takes to play better and win ballgames so we don't need to worry about it."

The Yankees went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight, half by Mark Teixeira, who had an overall miserable night.

Hiroki Kuroda, 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA in two previous season debut starts with the Yankees, was OK, allowing two runs and three hits in six innings.

"With a lineup like we have, if you keep the game at two runs I know we'll have a chance," Kuroda said.

But not Wednesday night.

Cosart, a 23-year-old with a mid-90s fastball, scattered four hits, walked none and struck out three. Teixeira went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and committed a critical error that led to an Astros run.

Dexter Fowler, who doubled and scored in the Astros' four-run first in Tuesday's opener, hammered Kuroda's 1-and-0 sinker into the Houston bullpen for a 1-0 lead.

The Astros added to their lead in the third when, with Fowler on third after a triple, Teixeira, playing in, couldn't handle Robbie Grossman's ground smash, the error making it 2-0.

The Yankees got two on in the sixth against Jerome Williams when Jeter (0-for-3) walked and, after Beltran struck out, went to third on Brian McCann's sharp single down the rightfield line. Teixeira, however, fanned on an 82-mph slider and Alfonso Soriano grounded to third.

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The Yankees put runners at the corners with none out in the seventh but got only one run as Yangervis Solarte, pinch hitting for Kelly Johnson, grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

The Astros made it 3-1 in the seventh when Matt Dominguez homered off David Phelps, making it 3-1.

Josh Fields pitched a perfect ninth to record the save.

"They played well," Jeter said. "They pitched well today. We couldn't find any ways to score more runs. Sometimes teams will beat you."

Righthander Josh Fields pitched a perfect ninth to record the save.

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