Pineda, Eovaldi combine to strike out seven against Rays

A-Rod goes 2-for-3 with first spring RBI

Pineda, Eovaldi combine to strike out seven against Rays

TAMPA, Fla. -- Michael Pineda and Nathan Eovaldi combined for seven strikeouts over five scoreless innings and Alex Rodriguez drove in his first run of the spring, helping the Yankees to a 4-3 victory over the Rays on Monday at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Making his spring debut, Pineda was sharp over two efficient innings, permitting a single with no walks and two strikeouts.

"I like the command and my offspeed pitches," said Pineda, who threw 17 of 25 pitches for strikes. "My changeup and my slider are very good today. I'm excited because the command is there and everything is good."

Pineda strikes out Franklin

Eovaldi relieved and struck out five over his three innings, permitting three hits without a walk. He has been working with pitching coach Larry Rothschild on elevating pitches to improve his strikeout rate.

"I felt like I did pretty good," Eovaldi said. "I ran into some trouble in the second inning, but I was able to get out of a jam. I felt good for the most part. It felt like I was rushing a little bit on some of my offspeed pitches, but other than that, I felt pretty good."

Rodriguez had two singles in the contest, including a soft second-inning liner to left field that drove home Brian McCann with the first run of the game.

"I'm a run producer, so I was just trying to get the run in," Rodriguez said. "It doesn't have to be pretty, just get it in."

A-Rod's second single of the day

Serving as the designated hitter for the third time in four spring games, Rodriguez flew out in his third at-bat and is 4-for-9 with two walks.

"It doesn't really mean anything," Rodriguez said. "I've played for a long time. It's better than 0-for-9, I guess."

Didi Gregorius added a run-scoring groundout to account for the production against Tampa Bay right-hander Nathan Karns, who allowed two runs (one earned) and two hits in three innings, with a walk and a strikeout.

Didi's RBI groundout

Greg Bird and Slade Heathcott added RBIs in the seventh for the Yankees. Desmond Jennings went 2-for-2 for the Rays. Eugenio Velez and Jake Elmore had RBI singles in a three-run eighth for Tampa Bay.

Up next: The Yankees hit the road on Tuesday, visiting the Orioles for a 1:05 p.m. ET contest in Sarasota, Fla. Fans can watch the game live on MLB.TV. Chase Whitley will make his first start of the spring for New York, scheduled to be relieved by Esmil Rogers. The Yanks are expected to bring their starting infield of Mark Teixeira, Stephen Drew, Didi Gregorius and Chase Headley on the trip.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for 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.