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Must C Combo: McCann jacks two homers vs. Red Sox

NEW YORK -- It was a cold winter afternoon when Brian McCann was led on a private tour of Yankee Stadium, listening to a sales pitch from team executives trying to fit him for pinstripes. As McCann walked those hallways, he thought about what the cozy right-field dimensions might do for his power numbers.

It took a little longer than McCann might have anticipated, but the slugging catcher is on the board with his first home runs as a Yankee. McCann hit two of the Yankees' five long balls on Saturday, powering his team's 7-4 victory over the Red Sox in the Bronx.

"I've played here before as a visitor and got to see the ball. It's very nice for left-handed hitters," McCann said. "Just contributing and getting a win, that's more important. But yeah, it was nice to get my first homers here."

Both of McCann's blasts came off starter John Lackey, who served up a career-high four homers in the contest. Carlos Beltran slugged a two-run shot and Alfonso Soriano also went deep off Lackey; Kelly Johnson added an eighth-inning homer off reliever Burke Badenhop.

McCann entered play on Saturday with just six singles in his first 37 at-bats. Manager Joe Girardi said that he never sensed frustration from the seven-time All-Star, who signed a five-year, $85 million deal with New York soon after that tour of the ballpark.

"I think everyone, when you come to a new place, wants to get off to a fast start and prove why the club came out and got you," Girardi said. "I was not really concerned about it. I know he's going to hit. He's too good of a player not to hit."

The pounding provided Hiroki Kuroda some welcome run support, coming on an afternoon when the Yankees right-hander said that he was without his best curveball. Kuroda held Boston to a two-run A.J. Pierzynski homer over the first six innings.

After walking Jackie Bradley Jr. and striking out Dustin Pedroia in the seventh, Kuroda gave way to reliever Matt Thornton. The southpaw fanned David Ortiz, but after hitting Mike Napoli, Mike Carp laced a two-run single through the vacant hole at shortstop.

"Even though I got the win, because I couldn't finish that inning, I feel a little frustrated," Kuroda said through an interpreter. "Overall, it wasn't sharp."

The jet stream was blowing out to center field and right field, and Beltran was the first to clear the fences on a day when the Nos. 3-6 hitters in the Yanks' order combined to go 8-for-15 with six RBIs and six runs scored.

Beltran's first-inning shot, his second of the year, cleared the right-field wall, and McCann's first homer of the afternoon found a landing spot in the right field second deck in the fourth inning.

"I think he's a great asset behind the plate," Beltran said. "He has a lot of pride in calling games. He cares a lot about his pitchers, and at the same time, he can swing the bat. When he gets going, it's going to be fun."

McCann's homer was immediately followed by Soriano's homer to right field, his third of the year. The homers were the first back-to-back blasts by Yankees hitters since Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira did it last June 6 against the Mariners.

"He can get hot and carry a team," Girardi said of Soriano. "That's why he's important to our lineup."

McCann tacked on a two-run shot into the right-field bullpen in the sixth inning. Lackey walked none and struck out six in the outing, and he was visibly frustrated by his performance.

"It's a good lineup; they've got a good team," Lackey said. "It's a long lineup, they're deep and [I made] just a couple too many mistakes."

The cushion was a nice change of pace for Kuroda, who has averaged the lowest run support in the American League since the beginning of 2013.

Carp was thrown out stealing to end the seventh inning, and an eighth-inning play at second base was reviewed and confirmed, as Red Sox manager John Farrell challenged that Dean Anna came off the bag after doubling to right field.

Replays showed that Anna's right foot briefly came off the base while he was being tagged. After the game, MLB said a conclusive angle was not immediately available and acknowledged that the call should have been made differently.

Presented with a convincing screenshot after the game, Anna chuckled and said, "They said I'm safe, so I'm safe."

The call did not affect the outcome, as New York's bullpen had the game locked down from there. Adam Warren continued a strong start to his season with a scoreless eighth inning, striking out two, and Shawn Kelley pitched a perfect ninth to log his second save.

McCann popped out from behind the plate to greet Kelley after the final out, and that's the recipe that the Yankees had in mind from him: some slugging and some hand-shaking. McCann said that the inviting right-field porch is just a bonus in that equation.

"I don't think about it. I really don't," McCann said. "If you miss a ball and it goes out, it's just a positive. I don't go too deep into it. I'm going to hit the same way I've hit." Comments