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Chase Whitley impresses in spot start as Yankees top Rays

New York Yankees starting pitcher Chase Whitley delivers

New York Yankees starting pitcher Chase Whitley delivers against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, April 28, 2015. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Chase Whitley can unpack his bags.

Whitley, Tuesday night's Yankees starter, was supposed to pitch this one game and then head back to Triple-A. But general manager Brian Cashman announced during the game that Masahiro Tanaka is heading to the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his wrist and a mild forearm strain.

With Tanaka expected to miss a month, Whitley will get the first crack at filling in for more than one start. On Tuesday night, Whitley allowed one run in five innings to get the win as the Yankees beat the Rays, 4-2, before 36,934 at Yankee Stadium.

Whitley had been one of the Yankees' last -- and most difficult -- cuts of spring training after he pitched to a 1.17 ERA. He was called up to make Tuesday night's spot start after going 2-0 with a 2.12 ERA for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

The reason the Yankees inserted Whitley into the rotation was to give their five regular starters an extra day's rest. With Tanaka scratched from Wednesday's start, that plan will be shelved, too, as everyone will pitch on his normal day, beginning with Michael Pineda this afternoon against Tampa Bay.

Whitley, who went 4-3 with a 5.23 ERA for the Yankees in 2014, allowed six hits, walked one and struck out five. He threw 93 pitches.

Brian McCann drove in three runs with a pair of doubles as the Yankees won their third in a row and seventh in eight games.

Alex Rodriguez was given the night off. He will continue his quest to tie Willie Mays with home run No. 660 Wednesday against lefthander Drew Smyly.

The Yankees scored twice in the first against Jake Odorizzi (2-2). Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a single, stole second and moved to third on a throwing error by catcher Rene Rivera before scoring on Brett Gardner's grounder to second.

Mark Teixeira and McCann followed with back-to-back doubles to make it 2-0.

Whitley, a 25-year-old righthander, retired the first four Rays before three consecutive singles loaded the bases with one out in the second. But Whitley got Tim Beckham to fly to shallow left and Rivera to ground into a forceout.

The Rays made it 2-1 in the third when Steven Souza Jr. walked and scored on a double by Asdrubal Cabrera. After a wild pitch, Whitley again stranded a runner on third base when he struck out Evan Longoria and James Loney.

McCann made it 4-1 in the fifth when his two-out double to left scored Ellsbury and Gardner. McCann improved to 10-for-15 with eight RBIs vs. Odorizzi. Rookie Rays manager Kevin Cash chose not to intentionally walk McCann with runners on second and third and slumping Carlos Beltran on deck.

After Whitley departed, the Yankees bullpen continued its recent strong showing. Manager Joe Girardi stayed away from Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller, each of whom had pitched the last two days.

Chasen Shreve gave up a run in the sixth on a walk and a triple by Logan Forsythe. But Forsythe was stranded on third when Shreve struck out Kevin Kiermaier and Esmil Rogers came on and struck out Beckham and Rivera.

Rogers struck out five in 22/3 scoreless innings. Chris Martin worked a scoreless ninth for his first career save.


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