MLB: Brandon McCarthy flashes 'top-of-the-rotation stuff' in first Yankees win

11:55 p.m. EDT July 19, 2014 NEW YORK — Perhaps the only mistake the New York Yankees made in Saturday's 7-1 win was a fat fastball to the Cincinnati Reds' Chris Heisey. Brandon McCarthy, cruising at the time, saw his fifth-inning offering shipped into the left-field seats for a solo home run.

BOX SCORE: Yankees 7, Reds 1

For a pitcher who has now surrendered 16 home runs in just 20 starts, McCarthy's reaction was pretty reserved. The Yankees led at the time, no one was on base and he threw the pitch he wanted to. In fact, according to McCarthy, that has been the main difference in his two starts with New York since being acquired in a July 6 trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks — and the reason for his optimism amid a woeful season.

Of most importance, McCarthy said he has found a team that will allow him to throw his cut fastball.

That pitch and easy chemistry with catcher Brian McCann has left the lanky righty at ease so far in New York. He showed it Saturday in another strong outing, an economical six-inning, one-run, six-hit, nine-strikeout effort to earn his first win as a Yankee in his pinstriped debut in the Bronx.

"He's got top-of-the-rotation stuff," McCann said. "We're really glad to have him."

At the behest of the organization, McCarthy had curtailed that stuff in Arizona, almost completely shelving his cutter. He said he threw just one (a rare frontdoor cutter to NL MVP Andrew McCutchen) in his last two starts with the Diamondbacks compared to 10 or more in his first two with the Yankees.

"It wasn't something I totally agreed with," McCarthy said. "Now, coming here, and them going back over everything I've done and realizing that was a big part of my success, we decided to add that back in. It's been a nice change."

McCarthy and McCann said reintroducing the cutter has allowed McCarthy to pitch to all quadrants of the strike zone. He became reliant on his sinker in Arizona, but he has thrown the sinker, the cutter and a four-seamer here with the Yankees.

"The sinker was there and it could work, but it has to be kept alive," McCarthy said. "The cutter today I thought set that up well."

McCarthy said returning the cutter to his arsenal was among the topics in his first meeting with McCann and the coaches. McCann compared McCarthy's repertoire to that of Tim Hudson, whose primary weapon is also a sinker.

McCann believes McCarthy can continue to pitch well for the Yankees, who could certainly use another anchor in their rotation, with four-fifths of the Opening Day rotation on the disabled list.

"He has the ability to do what he did tonight every fifth day," McCann said. "I truly believe that. I think his stuff's always been there. What I saw today and from his first start, he's got it."

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