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Yankees finally get first win of 2012

OFF AND RUNNING
Turns out Derek Jeter just needed a few games to get going. He's up to speed now.
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BALTIMORE (AP)

It was a night of firsts for Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees.

GREAT AMERICAN RACE

The Junior Circuit is poised for epic AL pennant chases this season.

Jeter went 4 for 4, Ivan Nova gave up two runs in seven innings, and New York got its first win of the season, 6-2 over the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night.

Jeter singled and scored in the first inning, singled in the third, hit an RBI double in a three-run fourth, sacrificed in the sixth and singled in the eighth. He came in batting .231 with no runs and no RBIs.

''A lot of times the first of everything is the most difficult to get in a season,'' Jeter said. ''Whether it's the first hit, first RBI, first win.''

Especially a win.

New York began the season by losing three straight to Tampa Bay and was in danger of going 0-4 for only the fourth time in franchise history.

''It's good to get the first one,'' Jeter said. ''You don't want to think about it too long.''

There was no laughter, no yelling and no one exchanging high-fives. Just business as usual.

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Still, after the game everyone was delighted to take part in the ritual of congratulating each other in the middle of the infield.

''It's nice to shake hands again. You go all winter, and in spring training not many of us are there in the ninth inning to shake hands,'' first baseman Mark Teixeira said. ''It's nice to go through the line again.''

Andruw Jones homered for the Yankees, who last went 0-3 in 1998.

''You always want to get that first one out of the way,'' manager Joe Girardi said.

Matt Wieters went 4 for 4 with a homer for the Orioles, who were coming off a season-opening, three-game sweep of Minnesota.

Nova (1-0) allowed two runs and 10 hits (six for extra bases) in seven innings, striking out seven with no walks. The right-hander went 16-4 last year but was 1-2 with an 8.06 ERA during spring training.

''I thought Nova threw well, especially when he got in trouble,'' Girardi said. ''He gave up some hits but got some big outs when he needed to.''

It was Nova's 13th straight win, tied with Ron Guidry for the third-longest streak in Yankees history.

''Everything was working for me,'' he said.

Orioles starter Brian Matusz (0-1) threw 96 pitches in laboring through four innings. He gave up four runs, six hits and four walks in absorbing his 10th straight loss over two seasons.

''I was a little amped up,'' the left-hander said. ''First start of the season and I was just pitching behind in the count too much today. Not getting ahead, attacking the zone like I wanted to. The walks hurt. It's a tough lineup.''

Against the Twins, Orioles starters pitched a collective 22 innings and allowed one earned run.

Not this time.

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''Stuff was pretty good. Command wasn't what it's going to be or what it has been up to this point,'' manager Buck Showalter said. ''Brian's stuff was pretty crisp. Got some counts away from his favor.''

Matusz kept it close until New York sent eight batters to the plate in the fourth. Russell Martin followed two straight walks with his first hit of the season, an RBI single, and Eduardo Nunez hit a sacrifice fly before Jeter doubled in a run.

Jones homered off Darren O'Day in the sixth, and Brett Gardner singled in a run in the seventh for a 6-1 lead.

Chris Davis doubled in a run for Baltimore in the seventh.

New York's big-name players wasted no time pushing the team in the right direction. Jeter began the game with a single, Alex Rodriguez drew a two-out walk and Teixeira - who stepped to the plate with a .111 batting average and no RBIs - delivered a run-scoring single.

It was the first time this season that Baltimore trailed. Wieters rectified that in the second inning by hitting a 2-0 pitch over the right-field wall.

NOTES: Jeter is 11 for 22 lifetime against Matusz. ... In his last three starts against New York, Matusz is 0-2 with a 12.66 ERA. ... Yankees LHP Andy Pettitte allowed one run and two hits over three innings for Class-A Tampa Monday night in his second game since ending a one-year retirement. ... Orioles LHP Wei-Yin Chen makes his U.S. debut Tuesday night against Yankees RHP Freddy Garcia. Chen, a Taiwan native who pitched in Japan for the last four seasons, says he's familiar with Jeter and Rodriguez. ''I heard about them in Taiwan and Japan. They are really big names over there, too.'' ... Baltimore LHP Tsuyoshi Wada, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a sore left elbow, pitched six innings in an extended spring training game Monday.

Tagged: Derek Jeter, Brian Matusz, Ivan Nova, Orioles, Yankees

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