McCann drives in three as Yanks stay hot, double up Rays
By Bill Chastain and Bryan Hoch
MLB.com |@wwchastain |
NEW YORK -- Brian McCann doubled twice and drove in three runs to help the Yankees continue their winning ways, powering a 4-2 victory over the Rays on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.
The Bombers' backstop slugged a run-scoring double as part of a two-run first inning, then connected for a two-run double in the fifth as he continued to pound Tampa Bay starter Jake Odorizzi. The Yankees have won 10 of their last 12 games, and all five meetings with the Rays.
"I feel good. I've been feeling good all season long, to be honest with you," McCann said. "Hits are starting to fall and I'm finding the barrel."
Yankees righty Chase Whitley picked up the victory in his first start of the season, holding the Rays to one run and six hits over five innings. Tampa Bay's Asdrubal Cabrera had a run-scoring double in the third and Logan Forsythe legged out an RBI triple in the sixth facing Chasen Shreve. Yanks righty Chris Martin worked a scoreless ninth for his first career save.
"Tough night," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I thought Odo threw the ball pretty well. That first inning we didn't help him out that much. We had some opportunities, didn't capitalize on them."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Pitching to McCann: With the Rays trailing 2-1 in the fifth, the Yankees had runners on second and third with two outs and McCann, Odorizzi's nemesis, stepping to the plate. McCann, who entered the game with a .615 batting average (8-for-13) against Odorizzi, already had an RBI double in the first inning. Despite McCann's success and having the open base, the Rays opted to pitch to McCann and he made them pay, slapping Odorizzi's first pitch to left for a two-run double to give the Yankees a 4-1 lead. More >
"I just seem to be swinging the bat well when he's out there," McCann said. More >
Bank on Chase: Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that it was difficult to send Whitley down after his strong spring, but the 25-year-old took the "right attitude" to Triple-A and will now be rewarded with a rotation slot following the news that Masahiro Tanaka is heading to the disabled list with a right forearm strain and tendinitis of his wrist. Whitley needed 93 pitches to get through five innings but limited the damage, permitting just one walk and striking out five.
"It feels good to be able to go out tonight and do my job," Whitley said. "I'm not trying to look ahead to anything else; just pitch when and where they tell me to pitch."
Failure with runners on third: Rays hitters struggled to cash in when they had runners on third base. Four times they stranded runners at third, going 0-for-8 with five strikeouts. The numbers should not be a surprise since the Rays are 2-for-35 against the Yankees this season with runners in scoring position.
"We're getting the right guys up. We're getting close against them," Cash said. "We've played really good baseball. I don't read anything more into it than that. We just didn't get it done tonight."
What a relief:Since April 22, the Yankees' bullpen has gone 3-0 with four saves and an 0.77 ERA, walking five and striking out 30 in 23 1/3 innings. Long reliever Esmil Rogers got the gold star Tuesday with a splendid 2 2/3 scoreless innings of one-hit relief. Rogers walked one and struck out five, with a wild pitch, and Martin pitched around a two-out single to lock down the save.
"I'd be lying to you if I said it didn't [feel different]," Martin said. "It was a little nerve racking, but I settled down there."
"He's been phenomenal for my career ever since I've been up and started throwing to him. He's such a good player and such a good leader for this team. It's fun to have him as a teammate." -- Whitley, on McCann
WHAT'S NEXT Rays:Drew Smyly (0-0, 3.86 ERA) will start the finale of the three-game series, making his second start of the season Wednesday at 1:05 p.m. ET. The left-hander has pitched well since coming from the Tigers in the David Price trade. The Rays were watching his pitch count Friday night, when he went 4 2/3 innings against the Blue Jays; he will be allowed to go deeper in this outing.
Yankees:Michael Pineda (3-0, 3.86) will slide in to start Wednesday as the Yankees go for a sweep. The original scheduled starter had been Tanaka, who is heading to the DL. Pineda has won his past three starts, including 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball against the Mets on Sunday.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.