NEW YORK (AP) — As Michael Pineda threw strike after strike and got out after out, the excitement of the home opener crowd at Yankee Stadium increased and its noise-level rose.
“You’re thinking is it’s going to be another special day here at the Stadium,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Pineda retired his first 20 batters, striking out half of them with a darting fastball, a diving slider and a moving changeup.
Could he? Would he?
Pineda finally made a mistake when he hung a slider to Evan Longoria, who doubled into the left-field corner with two outs in the seventh. Pineda pitched two-hit ball over 7 2/3 innings Monday and left to a standing ovation in the Yankees’ 8-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
“When the fans stand up, it’s a good moment for me,” Pineda said.
He dominated like the pitcher the Yankees have always hoped he would become. Pineda (1-1) struck out 11 , walked none and threw 67 of 93 pitches for strikes.
“He had control of his pitches. He had control of the game. At no point in time did he lose that control,” Yankees catcher Austin Romine said.
A hard-throwing 28-year-old right-hander obtained from Seattle after the 2011 season, Pineda was 6-12 with a 4.82 ERA last year, the 68th-highest ERA among 74 qualifying pitchers in the major leagues. Yet he struck out a team-high 207 and led the AL with 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings.
“It’s mind-boggling,” Girardi said before his final start last season. “It just doesn’t make sense.”
He tried to define the difficulty Monday.
“It’s mechanical,” Girardi said. “So is it mental? Is it physical? What is it? It’s everything being on time, and the bigger you are, the harder that is.”
Aaron Judge , Chase Headley and Starlin Castro homered for the Yankees, who broke open the game with a five-run eighth inning and won their second straight following a 1-4 start.
Pineda, who gave up four runs over 3 2/3 innings in a loss against Alex Cobb at Tampa Bay last week, started 15 of his first 18 batters with strikes and didn’t fall behind 2-0 in a count until the sixth. Longoria reached on a first-pitch hanging slider and tipped his helmet to Pineda after reaching second. Leading 2-0 at the time, Pineda then fanned Brad Miller.
“He had full command of all of his pitches today,” Longoria said. “I had just guessed slider on that pitch, and he made a mistake.”
Tampa Bay’s Logan Morrison homered with one out in the eighth, a ball that hit off the top of the wall in right-center and deflected off a fan before bouncing back onto the field. A video review was needed to determine it was a home run.
“He was doing a good job of mixing his slider in and putting it in a good spot where it was just the bottom of the zone or diving down below,” Morrison said. “His fastball was down more, so it was kind of tougher to pick up which was what.”
Tyler Clippard and Chasen Shreve combined for perfect relief. The Yankees won their home opener for the 16th time in 20 years.
New York took a 2-0 lead against Alex Cobb (1-1) on Jacoby Ellsbury’s RBI double in the third and Judge’s home run in the fourth, his second in two days. Headley, batting .375, led off the seventh with his second home run, and Matt Holliday chased Cobb with a run-scoring double in the eighth.
Strangely, a one-sided win felt like a letdown.
“I was disappointed when Longo hit that double,” Brett Gardner said, “but still just an awesome outing by big Mike.”
MORE LIKE IT
It was sunny and 76 degrees at game time, more than double the 36 for last year’s Yankee Stadium opener.
Gardner moved to the locker next to the entrance by showers, formerly occupied by Carlos Beltran and before that Jorge Posada. Matt Holliday took over Alex Rodriguez’s stall to Gardner’s left, and Romine moved into Gardner’s old space toward the center of the room.
“Decent real estate,” Gardner said.
On the third base side, a new carpet in a lighter gray was installed in the visitors’ clubhouse.
Yankees C Gary Sanchez, who went on the DL after straining his right biceps Saturday, is expected to be out four weeks with a strained brachialis muscle. … C Kyle Higashioka made his big league debut in the ninth. … New York 1B Greg Bird missed his third straight game, a layoff originally caused by a sore ankle but now by a stomach illness.
After an off day, 24-year-old LHP Jordan Montgomery will make his major league debut for New York on Wednesday after winning the No. 5 starter’s job. LHP Blake Snell (0-1) will pitch for the Rays.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
Mission nearly impossible this spring: Finding a home to buy
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Anyone eager to buy a home this spring probably has reasons to feel good. The job market is solid. Average pay is rising. And mortgage rates, even after edging up of late, are still near historic lows. And then there’s the bad news: Just try to find a house. The national supply of homes for sale hasn’t been this thin in nearly 20 years. And over the past year, the steepest drop in supply has occurred among homes that are typically most affordable for first-time buyers and in markets where prices have risen sharply. In markets like San Diego, Boston and Seattle, competition for a dwindling supply has escalated along with pressure to offer more money and accept less favorable terms.
Wells claws back $75 million from top execs in sales scandal
NEW YORK (AP) — The problems at Wells Fargo and its overly aggressive sales culture date back at least 15 years, and management had little interest in dealing with the issue until it spiraled out of control resulting in millions of accounts being opened fraudulently, according to an investigation by the company’s board of directors. The bank’s board also clawed back another $75 million in pay from two former executives, CEO John Stumpf and community bank executive Carrie Tolstedt, saying both executives dragged their feet for years regarding problems at the second-largest U.S. bank. Both were ultimately unwilling to accept criticism that the bank’s sales-focused business model was failing.
US airlines show improvement in annual study
DALLAS (AP) — Airlines are getting better at sticking to their schedules and are losing fewer bags. Their customers seem to be complaining less often. Those are the findings of an annual report on U.S. airlines’ quality released Monday by researchers at Wichita State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Many passengers may have trouble believing those conclusions, however. In just the last few days Delta Air Lines suffered a multi-day meltdown — canceling more than 3,000 flights after a one-day storm in Atlanta. And on Monday, United Airlines was in the spotlight after a video showed security agents dragging a man off a plane; he had refused to give up his seat on a flight that United overbooked.
Video of passenger getting dragged off flight sparks uproar
CHICAGO (AP) — Video of police officers dragging a passenger from an overbooked United Airlines flight sparked an uproar Monday on social media, and a spokesman for the airline insisted that employees had no choice but to contact authorities to remove the man. As the flight waited to depart from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, officers could be seen grabbing the screaming man from a window seat, pulling him across the armrest and dragging him down the aisle by his arms. The airline was trying to make room for four of its employees on the Sunday evening flight to Louisville, Kentucky.
Toyota announces $1.33 billion investment in Kentucky plant
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Toyota said Monday it is investing $1.33 billion to retool its sprawling factory in Georgetown, Kentucky, where the company’s flagship Camry sedans are built. No new factory jobs are being added, but Toyota says the upgrades amount to the biggest single investment ever at one of its existing plants in the United States. The retooling also will sustain the existing 8,200 jobs at Toyota’s largest plant, where about one-fourth of all Toyota vehicles produced in North America are made, the automaker said.
Ford says hybrid police car catches bad guys, saves gas too
DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — The next time the cops chase you down for speeding, they could be driving a fuel-efficient gas-electric hybrid. Ford Motor Co., which sells more police vehicles in the U.S. than any other automaker, says it will offer a police pursuit version of the hybrid Fusion midsize sedan, in response to requests from cities nationwide. The new car, with its 2-Liter four-cylinder engine and 1.4 kilowatt lithium-ion battery, is expected to get 38 miles per gallon of gas in combined city-highway driving. That’s 20 mpg more than Ford’s current police car, the Taurus police interceptor.
Regulators find lots of ‘fake news’ aimed at stock investors
WASHINGTON (AP) — “Fake news” is not limited to presidential politics and conspiracy theories. Investors also have to be on the alert for stock promotions masquerading as unbiased reports online. Federal regulators have brought civil fraud charges against 27 businesses and individuals for deceiving investors into believing they were reading independent, impartial analyses of stocks on websites. The Securities and Exchange Commission said Monday that the writers were secretly paid for writing the bullish articles.
Barclays CEO investigated for trying to unmask whistleblower
LONDON (AP) — The CEO of Barclays bank is being investigated by regulators for his attempts to unmask a whistleblower who had written anonymous letters raising concerns about a senior employee. Jes Staley had sought to identify the author of the letters but was told it was inappropriate to do so under rules protecting whistleblowers. Staley then sought again to identify the person, even using help from a U.S. law enforcement agency, but failed.
New York makes tuition free, but students must stay after college
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — There’s a big string attached to New York’s free middle-class college tuition initiative: Students must stay in the state after graduation or else pay back the benefit. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that the requirement was added to protect the state’s investment in a student’s education by ensuring they don’t take advantage of free tuition and then leave New York. The bank, which has faced a number of legal problems in recent years, said Monday that Staley had honestly, but mistakenly, believed that he had clearance to identify the whistleblower.
Sushi stress: Fishermen not catching many baby eels
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The chilly rivers of Maine are causing trouble in the world of sushi. The state’s brief, annual season for baby eels is off to a slow start because of a cold spring that has prevented the fish from running in rivers. The baby eels, called elvers, are an important piece of the worldwide sushi supply chain. They’re sold to Asian aquaculture companies — sometimes for more than $2,000 per pound — that raise them to maturity and use them as food.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 1.62 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,357.16. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 1.92 points, or 0.01 percent, to 20,658.02. The Nasdaq composite index added 3.11 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,880.93.
Benchmark crude oil closed higher for the fifth day in a row, adding 84 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $53.08 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, gained 74 cents, or 1.3 percent, at $55.98 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline gained 1 cent to $1.76 a gallon. Heating oil rose 2 cents to $1.65 a gallon. Natural gas slid 2 cents to $3.24 per 1,000 cubic feet.
United Airlines booted 3,765 passengers off flights last year just because it sold more tickets than there were seats on the plane, but none of those got as much attention as the man who was dragged off a plane in Chicago over the weekend.
Video posted on Facebook showed the shock on the faces of other passengers. And it created a public-relations nightmare for the airline on Monday as news of the video spread.
Airlines are allowed to oversell flights, and they frequently do, because they assume that some passengers won’t show up. U.S. airlines bumped 40,000 passengers last year, not counting those who volunteered to give up their seats.
But there are some federal rules that apply.
When they know a flight is oversold, airlines will ask for volunteers to give up their seat, usually for a travel voucher or other reward, and a seat on a later flight. According to the government, 434,000 passengers voluntarily gave up seats on the country’s largest 12 airlines last year, including nearly 63,000 on United. The champion of overbooking was Delta Air Lines — about 130,000 passengers on Delta agreed to give up their seats last year.
When voluntary offers don’t work, the airlines can deny boarding — or “bump” passengers against their will. That appears to be what happened before Sunday night’s United flight from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky. When it comes to forcing passengers off a flight, Southwest is the undisputed leader among the larger airlines — it bumped nearly 15,000 passengers last year, according to government figures.
Federal rules spell out how much the airline must pay each passenger who is forced off a flight. Airlines must give bumped passengers a written statement that explains their compensation rights.
Compensation varies by how long the passenger will be delayed. If the airline can rebook the passenger and get him to his destination within an hour of his originally scheduled arrival time, no compensation is required.
If the passenger will arrive between one and two hours later than planned — or between one and four hours for an international flight — the airline must pay the passenger twice the amount of the one-way fare to his destination, up to $675.
If the passenger will be delayed more than two hours — or four hours for international flights — the airline must pay him four times the one-way fare, up to $1,350.
AVOIDING GETTING BUMPED
Airlines will usually bump people flying on the cheapest tickets because the required compensation will be lower. Carriers have other rules, too. United Airlines says that when deciding who gets bumped, it considers how long it will take for passengers to reach their destination on a later flight, it won’t break up a family group, and won’t bump minors who are traveling alone.
Airlines are most likely to oversell flights during busy travel periods such as spring break and the summer-vacation season, but bumping can happen any time there is bad weather that causes some flights to be canceled.
IF YOU WANT TO BE BUMPED
Some savvy travelers see oversold flights as an opportunity — for them. They’ll give up their seats if the airline makes a sweet enough offer. Some check their flight’s seating chart ahead of time to see if it’s sold out. If you aim to be bumped, sit near the gate agent’s desk so you can pounce before other passengers take that offer of travel vouchers, gift cards, and sometimes cash. If offered a spot on a later flight, make sure it’s a confirmed seat. And don’t check a bag.
David Koenig can be reached at http://twitter.com/airlinewriter
How much blood and oxygen does it take to ‘feed’ the brain?
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The Spanish league’s lack of goal-line technology was underscored in Real Sociedad’s 3-1 victory over visitors Sporting Gijon on Monday.
Sporting goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar dove to block Willian Jose’s third-minute header, managing to knock the ball out as it appeared to cross the goal-line. Even in televised repetitions, it was tough to tell.
The referee awarded the goal, and Sociedad never looked back in San Sebastian.
“I was inside, but that doesn’t mean the ball was. It was difficult to judge,” Cuellar said. “It was an early goal that conditioned the match.”
Juan Miguel Jimenez put the result beyond doubt in the 27th. Left back Yuri Berchiche added a third before Elderson Echiejile scored Sporting’s consolation goal.
The Spanish league said in January that it would use video referees in 2018, following criticism after Barcelona wasn’t awarded a goal that clearly crossed the line in a 1-1 draw at Real Betis.
La Liga president Javier Tebas then said that video referees would be favored over the goal-line technology that is in place in other European leagues due to its lower costs.
While Sociedad climbed back into sixth place and a Europa League spot, Sporting missed the chance to fight off relegation.
Leganes’ loss on Sunday opened the door for Sporting to close on the last team clinging to safety. Instead, it remained in 17th place and five points behind Leganes.
“We knew the importance that this game had. Especially given that next week we face Real Madrid,” Cuellar said. “We will try to turn this around, but there isn’t much time left.”
DALLAS (AP) — Airlines are getting better at sticking to their schedules and are losing fewer bags. Their customers seem to be complaining less often.
Those are the findings of an annual report on U.S. airlines’ quality released Monday by researchers at Wichita State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Many passengers may have trouble believing those conclusions, however.
In just the last few days Delta Air Lines suffered a multi-day meltdown — canceling more than 3,000 flights after a one-day storm in Atlanta. And on Monday, United Airlines was in the spotlight after a video showed security agents dragging a man off a plane; he had refused to give up his seat on a flight that United overbooked.
“People don’t look at the numbers,” admitted Dean Headley, a marketing professor at Wichita State and co-author of Monday’s report. “They just know what happened to them, or they hear what happened to other people.”
The researchers used information compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation to rate the airlines for on-time performance, baggage handling, bumping passengers off oversold flights, and complaints filed with the government.
They judged Alaska Airlines to be the best U.S. carrier, followed closely by Delta. Frontier Airlines ranked last, followed by another discount carrier, Spirit Airlines.
The report’s general observations:
— ON TIME PERFORMANCE: The percentage of flights that arrived on time or close to it rose to 81.4 percent in 2016 from 79.9 percent in 2015. Of 12 leading U.S. carriers, only American, JetBlue and Virgin America got worse.
— LOST BAGS: The rate of bags being lost, stolen or delayed fell 17 percent.
— BUMPING PASSENGERS: Your chances of getting bumped by the airline dropped 18 percent, which doesn’t include people who voluntarily gave up their seat for money or a travel voucher.
— FEWER COMPLAINTS: The rate of complaints filed with the government dropped about one-fifth, with complaints rising only for Hawaiian and Virgin America.
The official complaint rates don’t include the larger number of complaints that passengers file directly with the airline. The airlines are not required to report those figures.
The Wichita State and Embry-Riddle researchers have been issuing their report for more than 25 years, making it useful for comparing airlines. But some observers of the airline industry dismiss their number-crunching approach, and there are many other surveys that purport to rank the airlines.
The Transportation Department counts a flight as being on time even if it arrives up to 14 minutes late. “Airlines are happy with that (grace period) because it makes them look better and misleads the passenger,” said aviation consultant Michael Baiada. He said airlines can do better, and besides, travelers pay to be on time — not 14 minutes late.
More broadly, a statistical analysis of government data “really doesn’t take into consideration how the customer is treated,” said Bryan Saltzburg, an executive with travel site TripAdvisor LLC. “How comfortable are they on the plane? How helpful is the staff? What’s the value for what the customer paid?”
TripAdvisor released its own airline rankings Monday, which it said were based on analysis of “hundreds of thousands” of reviews posted by users. It placed JetBlue and Alaska Airlines among the top 10 in the world, and it rated Delta ahead of American and United among the largest U.S. carriers.
Other outfits including J.D. Power and Skytrax also put out ratings. Airlines boast when they win. Recently, American Airlines started putting stickers on all 968 of its planes to note that a trade publication, Air Transport World, named it airline of the year.