Hafner pinch-hit HR in 8th, Yankees beat Arizona

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 17, 2013 at 10:03 pm •  Published: April 17, 2013
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NEW YORK (AP) — Travis Hafner's big hit didn't surprise CC Sabathia.

Not one bit.

Hafner had a pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning to make a winner of Sabathia, who settled down after a shaky start and helped the New York Yankees beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-3 Wednesday night.

"I've seen Haf when he's locked in, so I expect him to do a lot more than he has," a grinning Sabathia said about his longtime teammate in Cleveland.

Hafner batted for Ben Francisco with two outs in the eighth. He sent the first pitch he saw from reliever David Hernandez (0-1) into the stands in right-center for his fourth home run. It was the fourth career pinch-hit homer for Hafner, and his first since joining the Yankees in the offseason.

"I'm having a lot of fun here," the player known as "Pronk" said. "I've been swinging the bat pretty well."

The rest of the Yankees have been on a pretty good run, too.

Brett Gardner had a tying, two-run single off reliever Tony Sipp in the seventh for New York. Stymied by Wade Miley for six innings, the Yankees broke through and won for the seventh time in eight games after a 1-4 start.

"With two outs and bases loaded it's kind of all on you," Gardner said. "It felt good to come through."

Sipp had the same feeling going into the at-bat against Gardner. Different result.

"I thought Wade pitched enough to get a win right there. Disappointing," Sipp said. "My job is to come in and get a batter out, and I didn't do my job."

Sabathia (3-1) gave up an opposite-field, two-run homer to Paul Goldschmidt in the first — one of three hits in the opening inning — then only three more hits and a sacrifice fly to A.J. Pollock through the eighth.

Sabathia struck out six and walked one in his third straight win after struggling on opening day. It was his second straight outing of eight innings.

Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth for his fourth save, closing out a game that took just 2 hours, 28 minutes. Injured for most of last season, Rivera posted his first back-to-back saves since April 10-11, 2012.

The Yankees rallied against Arizona for the second straight night. They trailed 2-0 Tuesday.

New York failed to get a runner to second base against Miley until Vernon Wells doubled with two outs in the sixth.

"He's a good looking pitcher," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He gets you to swing at that ball that's just above the waist and looks really tempting."

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