Pinch-hitter Chris Carter drilled a three-run homer in the eighth inning off reliever Felipe Rivero to lift the New York Yankees to an 11-5 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday.
Carter sent the first pitch he saw from Rivero (1-1) into the bullpen beyond the center field fence for his first homer with the Yankees. Starlin Castro added a three-run shot of his own and Aaron Judge hit his team-high sixth home run for New York. Ronald Torreyes had four hits and two RBIs.
Dellin Betances (2-1) earned the win in relief.
Andrew McCutchen hit his third home run and had a sacrifice fly for Pittsburgh. David Freese added a solo home run, but the Pirates fell apart late.
Austin Romine reached on a two-out error by Pittsburgh second baseman Adam Frazier before Torreyes singled. Carter, co-leader in the National League last season with 41 home runs for Milwaukee, then pounced on an 86 mph changeup from Rivero.
A misplayed fly ball by McCutchen and left fielder Gregory Polanco allowed Jacoby Ellsbury to race to third base. Ellsbury scored on a wild pitch, and Aaron Hicks and Chase Headley hit back-to-back doubles to cap the five-run outburst.
All five runs were unearned. The Pirates have allowed a major league-high 15 unearned runs this season.
The late surge seemed unlikely early as New York struggled to get anything going against Pittsburgh starter Jameson Taillon. The 24-year-old who has shown ace stuff at the start of his second season held New York without a hit until consecutive two-out singles in the fifth.
Taillon came undone in the sixth, leaving after giving up the home run to Castro and a double to Aaron Judge. Taillon allowed a season-high four runs (one more than he'd given up in his first three starts combined) over 5 1/3 innings, striking out four and walking three as his ERA rose from 0.90 to 2.13.
New York starter Michael Pineda escaped with a no-decision despite giving up multiple home runs on the road for the first time in 43 starts. McCutchen went deep off him in the first and Freese reached the seats in right-center in the third. Pineda was pulled in favor of a pinch hitter during New York's extended rally in the sixth, allowing three runs on five hits with two walks — double the amount he'd issued all season — and six strikeouts.
Yankees: C Gary Sanchez did some "tee and toss" batting practice as he continues to rehab the strained right shoulder that has kept him out since April 8. Manager Joe Girardi said the team is more worried about the shoulder being an issue when Sanchez throws than when he swings.
Yankees: Rookie LHP Jordan Montgomery makes his third career start on Sunday. Montgomery (1-0, 4.22 ERA) earned his first victory after allowing two runs over six-plus innings last Monday against the Chicago White Sox.
Pirates: Ex-Yankee Ivan Nova faces his former team for the first time in the series finale. Nova (1-2, 2.25) went 53-39 in six-plus seasons with New York before being traded to Pittsburgh last summer.