HOUSTON (AP) — The New York Yankees haven’t clicked on offense in their first two games this season.
They’ve gone 2 for 18 with runners in scoring position in two losses to the Houston Astros.
But Carlos Beltran said it’s way too early to be concerned.
“We’re going to be fine,” Beltran said. “We haven’t been able to put anything together, but this team has what it takes to play better and win ballgames. We don’t need to worry about it.”
Dexter Fowler homered and tripled and Matt Dominguez added a home run late to help the Astros take the opening series from the Yankees with a 3-1 win on Wednesday night.
Houston won the opener 6-2 and put a damper on the first series of Derek Jeter’s final season. Jeter was 0 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout.
“They played well, they pitched well today,” Jeter said. “It would be nice to score some more runs, but sometimes the other teams are going to have games like that.”
Fowler’s leadoff homer put Houston up and he scored the second run after his triple in the third.
The Yankees scored in the seventh before the Astros added an insurance run with Dominguez’s homer in the bottom half.
Jarred Cosart (1-0) allowed four hits in five scoreless innings and Josh Fields pitched a perfect ninth for the save.
“He did a good job,” Beltran said of Cosart. “He was locating pitching good on the corner, and he hit his spots with the curve ball. He kind of kept us off balance all night.”
Though several Yankees have struggled at the plate against Houston, designated hitter Alfonso Soriano had had a particularly tough time, going 0 for 8 with four strikeouts.
“I might be too aggressive, and I need to calm down a little bit more,” he said. “I need to swing at better pitches. I want to see something to hit, but the first two games, they know I am being too aggressive, and they are not giving me anything to hit on the first two pitches.”
Hiroki Kuroda (0-1) yielded three hits and two runs with five strikeouts in six innings.
The offseason trade for Fowler has paid immediate dividends for Houston. The former Colorado player had a pair of doubles on Tuesday night and is now the first player in franchise history with two extra-base hits in each of his first two games with the team.
The Astros were up 2-0 in the seventh when Yangervis Solarte grounded into a double play with runners at first and third that Brett Gardner scored on to cut the lead to 2-1. It was the first major league plate appearance for Solarte.
The two-out homer by Dominguez off David Phelps landed about three rows up in the right field stands to stretch Houston’s advantage to 3-1.
Beltran doubled off Matt Albers on the first pitch of the eighth inning before Albers struck out the next three Yankees.
Cosart allowed just two singles through four innings. He ran into some trouble in the fifth and after consecutive one-out singles by Gardner and Brian Roberts. He escaped the jam when Kelly Johnson grounded into a force out before he retired Jacoby Ellsbury.
Jerome Williams made his Astros debut when he replaced Cosart for the sixth. He walked Jeter on four pitches and Brian McCann singled on a sharp grounder with one out to leave runners at first and third. But he retired the next two to end the threat.
Fowler’s leadoff homer came a day after he started his Astros’ career with a leadoff double. Houston’s next hit came on Fowler’s standup triple which bounced off the wall in right-center with one out in the third.
Robbie Grossman reached on an error by first baseman Teixeira when his grounded bounced off Teixeira’s glove, allowing Fowler to score and make it 2-0.
NOTES: Andy Pettitte threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game. … Jeter, who announced in February that he was retiring, got a pair of cowboy boots with Yankees’ pinstripes, a 10 gallon cowboy hat and a set of golf clubs as the Astros honored him in a pregame ceremony Wednesday night. Pettitte and Roger Clemens participated in the tribute.