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Yankees rally with three runs in eighth to beat Blue Jays

New York Yankees left fielder Chris Young, right,

New York Yankees left fielder Chris Young, right, is greeted by New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira after he scores against the Toronto Blue Jays in the eighth inning of an MLB game at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, April 8, 2015. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Lost a bit during a Yankees spring filled with questions about pitchers' velocity, durability and arm strength was an element relating to another important part of the game.

This team rarely hit.

With a big assist from the Blue Jays, that changed just enough Wednesday night, though concerns about the offense are sure to persist.

Trailing 3-1 going into the eighth inning, the Yankees rallied for three runs against the Toronto bullpen to post a 4-3 victory on a frigid, raw night at the Stadium attended by an announced crowd of 31,020.

"You catch a break, you take it," said Chris Young, who started the rally with a pop-up double. "You need wins like that."

Young, pinch hitting for Didi Gregorius, led off the inning against lefty Aaron Loup by sending a pop down the rightfield line. Second baseman Devon Travis and rightfielder Jose Bautista, battling the mist and swirling wind gusts, failed to catch it and Young had a double. Jacoby Ellsbury, who reached base four times, singled to center and Brett Gardner got hit with a pitch on his right arm to load the bases.

In came lefty Brett Cecil, who uncorked a wild pitch with Carlos Beltran at the plate to make it 3-2. Beltran struck out and Mark Teixeira was intentionally walked, loading the bases for Brian McCann. Cecil then plunked the catcher to bring in Ellsbury and Chase Headley followed with a single off Cecil to make it 4-3 and give the Yankees their first lead.

"A little fortuitous," Headley said by way of understatement. "A little bit unconventional but guys did what they had to do to get on. We fought and clawed and it turned out in our favor."

Lefty Andrew Miller, expected to share closer duties with Dellin Betances, at least to start the season, collected his second career save, pitching a 1-2-3 ninth in his Yankees debut.

"Not really," Miller said of the ninth feeling different from the eighth. "That was my biggest obstacle, to just treat it like any other inning, and I think I did a good job of that."

The Yankees, who had three hits in their season-opening loss Monday and just four hits through seven innings Wednesday night -- flummoxed much of that time by R.A. Dickey's knuckleball -- finished with seven hits, two each from Ellsbury and Headley.

They got a solid start from righthander Michael Pineda, who allowed two runs, six hits and one walk with six strikeouts in six innings.

Betances was credited with the win despite giving up an unearned run in the eighth.

The Blue Jays struck first in the third, but Pineda did well to give up just the one run. Kevin Pillar reached on an infield single and Justin Smoak followed with a double, putting runners at second and third.

Travis ripped a grounder up the middle that Gregorius made a diving stop on, but he threw high, the infield single allowing Pillar to score to make it 1-0. But Pineda stopped it there, striking out Russell Martin and Bautista with runners at the corners to end the inning.

"He only ends up giving up the one run," Joe Girardi said of Pineda's third-inning escape. "Comes down to being the difference in the game."

New York Sports