NEW YORK — If the pitching-depleted New York Yankees plan to make a second-half charge, they will need several specific contributions the rest of the way:
Big hits from Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran. Steady starts from David Phelps and a makeshift rotation.
Maybe a little more punch from No. 3 batter Jacoby Ellsbury.
First game after the All-Star break? Check, check, check.
Ellsbury hit a two-run homer, Phelps pitched into the seventh inning, and the Yankees beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-3 on July 18.
“Big win for us to start the second half,” Ellsbury said. “You always want to play well at home. You should play well at home. I think we’re going to.”
McCann and Beltran had two-out RBIs for the Yankees (48-47), who began a 10-game homestand by winning the opener of an interleague series against a National League contender. New York, with a major league-high 40 home games after the break, snapped a five-game losing streak at Yankee Stadium and improved to 19-23 in its ballpark.
All-Star reliever Dellin Betances struck out three in 1 2-3 perfect innings, and David Robertson worked a one-hit ninth for his 24th save in 26 chances. “A week off always helps,” Betances said. “I just felt like maybe I had a little more power.”
Phelps (4-4) gave up three runs — two earned — in 6 1-3 innings against a lineup missing injured thumpers Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips. The right-hander struck out seven and walked one for his first win since June 19 against Toronto, which preceded four straight no-decisions.
Phelps is 3-0 in seven outings since a four-game skid, and he has yielded two earned runs or fewer in six of those seven starts.
“Regardless of what the rotation looks like, I pride myself on being consistent,” he said. “That’s one thing I’ve always strived for in the big leagues and even in the minor leagues. When our rotation does take hits, I kind of put (it) on myself to step up.”
It was the kind of effort New York needs from the unheralded fill-ins in its injury-ravaged rotation. Before the game, General Manager Brian Cashman announced that left-hander CC Sabathia is scheduled for surgery on his right knee July 23 — ending any hope of him returning this year.
“We need everybody to step up,” Ellsbury said.
Brayan Pena, subbing for Votto at first base, homered twice for the Reds. Mike Leake (7-8) allowed four runs and eight hits in seven innings.
“It was not as sharp as he has been, but he competed well and gave us a chance,” Manager Bryan Price said. “We just caught a guy who was a little bit better today.”
With the score tied 2-all, Derek Jeter singled to start the fifth, and Ellsbury lined a 1-1 pitch to the short porch in right field for his seventh home run.
“It was a cutter that backed up, but it was still decent location,” Leake said. “He was able to drop his hands and hurt me.”
Brett Gardner was hit on the left foot by Leake’s third pitch. Shaken up a bit, he was checked by Manager Joe Girardi and a trainer before remaining in the game.
Gardner stole second and scored on McCann’s two-out double. McCann is 16 for 45 (.356) in his last 11 games, raising his batting average 19 points to .239.
“I’ve been feeling pretty good at the plate the last 10-12 games, so hopefully I can keep that up and drive in some runs,” he said.
Jeter’s leadoff single in the third deflected off third baseman Todd Frazier. Ellsbury also singled before Beltran, just activated from the seven-day concussion list, came through with a two-out single.
Pena connected off Phelps to start the third and seventh for his first multihomer game.
Cincinnati tied it at 2 in the fourth, capitalizing on errors by Brian Roberts at second base and Jeter at shortstop. Devin Mesoraco had an RBI grounder, but Phelps prevented further damage.
“He’s been doing great,” Betances said. “He’s given us a chance to win every time he goes out. He’s done an awesome job, and today was a great win — a great team win.”
(MIKE FITZPATRICK, AP Sports Writer)