Pirela impresses during Yanks' win vs. Nats

Infielder goes 2-for-3 with an RBI single; A-Rod plays third base

Pirela impresses during Yanks' win vs. Nats

TAMPA, Fla. -- Cole Figueroa drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, leading the Yankees to a 3-2 Grapefruit League victory over the Nationals on Sunday at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Looking to make an impression to earn a spot on the Yanks' Opening Day roster, second baseman Jose Pirela knocked in a run with an infield single in the fourth inning. He also doubled and scored on Brett Gardner's third-inning infield single.

"I'm very thankful to the Yankees for this opportunity," said Pirela, who got into seven games with New York last September. "They've given me plenty of opportunities. I just want to continue doing my job and I just hope to keep getting a chance to show what I can do."

Gardner's infield single

The Nationals tied the game in the seventh when Tony Gwynn Jr. scored on a grounder by Derrick Robinson.

Adam Warren started for the Yankees and served up a leadoff home run to Michael Taylor, his first of the spring, before settling down to complete three innings. Warren scattered four hits, walking none and striking out one. He threw 27 of 46 pitches for strikes.

"I felt much better this outing than I did the one before," Warren said. "I feel like I'm pounding the zone, throwing strikes, which is good for me early on. I think everything was sharper today. Just have to get a little bit more consistent, but I'm happy with where I'm at right now."

Doug Fister started for the Nats and held New York to a hit over two scoreless innings, throwing 11 of 19 pitches for strikes.

In competition to serve as the Yankees' closer, Dellin Betances made his spring debut and pitched around a leadoff double in a scoreless fifth inning, striking out two.

"I was antsy in the bullpen, but I was just excited to get back going," Betances said. "I felt everything was there. It felt good."

Alex Rodriguez played five innings at third base, marking his first defensive appearance in a game since Sept. 10, 2013. Rodriguez handled his one chance, a third-inning groundout by Tyler Moore, and went 1-for-2 with a ground-rule double and a strikeout.

"It's a spring of many firsts, so I'm glad to get that first one out of the way," Rodriguez said.

A-Rod's nice defense at third

Up next: Michael Pineda will make his spring debut on Monday as the Yankees host the Rays in a 1:05 p.m. ET contest at George M. Steinbrenner Field (watch on MLB.TV). Nathan Eovaldi is scheduled to appear in relief. The Yanks are expected to play their starting infield of Mark Teixeira, Stephen Drew, Didi Gregorius and Chase Headley.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.