Bronx, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Brett Gardner knocked in three runs and Brandon McCarthy made a good impression in his first home start as a Yankee, tossing six strong innings in New York's 7-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
Making his second overall appearance since being acquired from Arizona on July 6, McCarthy (1-0) racked up nine strikeouts while scattering six hits -- one of which was a solo homer by Chris Heisey.
"He's got the ability to do what he did tonight every fifth day, I truly believe that," Yankees catcher Brian McCann said of McCarthy. "I think his stuff's always been there. What I saw today and from his first start, he's got it."
McCarthy received ample support from his new teammates, with Carlos Beltran going 2-for-4 with a solo home run and Kelly Johnson delivering a two-run single as part of a 2-for-3 day at the plate. Brian Roberts also had two hits while scoring three times to help the Yankees hand All-Star Alfredo Simon his first loss since May 27.
"I think we're going to swing the bats better in the second half," said McCann. "I think our pitching's been there all year, guys have stepped up and played key roles."
Simon (12-4), who came in 6-0 over his final eight outings before the break, lasted only five innings and permitted four runs -- two earned.
Beltran, playing his second game since missing seven straight with a broken nose and a sore knee, opened the scoring by hammering a Simon curveball into the right-field seats in the bottom of the second. Gardner made it a 2-0 lead an inning later with a single that plated Roberts, who had reached second on a dropped fly ball from Reds right fielder Jay Bruce.
McCarthy did his part early on by limiting Cincinnati to two singles over the first four innings, striking out the side in the last of those frames. He surrendered Heisey's homer in the fifth and a pair of hits in the sixth, but prevented further damage by fanning Brayan Pena on his final pitch.
"We really did struggle to put the ball in play and really just to create anything offensively," said Reds manager Bryan Price. "We fell behind early and really didn't ourselves back in the game at any point."
The Yankees owned a 4-1 advantage by that point after putting up two more runs in their half of the fifth. Singles by Roberts and Johnson and a passed ball by Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco set up Gardner's sacrifice fly that preceded Derek Jeter's RBI hit.
New York then broke the game open in the sixth against J.J. Hoover, who was greeted by singles by McCann and Beltran before Roberts poked a base hit to load the bases with one out. Johnson followed with a two-run single and Gardner added another sac fly to increase the margin to 7-1.
The Reds have now dropped five in a row on the road, including Friday's opener of this three-game set ... Simon had a string of eight consecutive quality starts halted ... The Reds lost their initial series following the All-Star break for the first time since 2007 ... McCarthy had lost six straight interleague starts since beating the Dodgers on June 19, 2012 while then a member of the Oakland A's.