Saturday, June 07, 2014
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Yankees give Whitley his first win

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[June 07, 2014]  KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Rookie right-hander Chase Whitley is no longer chasing his first big league victory and catcher Brian McCann connected on his first opposite-field extra-base hit of the season.

Whitley pitched a strong seven innings and McCann drove in three runs as the New York Yankees topped the Kansas City Royals 4-2 Friday night.

"We're all happy for him," McCann said. "He's worked really hard to get here, to do this. His slider is getting tighter. He's using it both back door and back foot to lefties. He's doing everything that we could ever ask."

The Yankees continued their domination of the small-market Royals, winning for the 12th time in 18 games since 2009 at Kauffman Stadium. They have not lost a season series to the Royals since 2000.

Whitley (1-0), who had not pitched beyond the fifth inning in his first four starts, limited the Royals to five hits and two runs to claim his first major league victory.

Whitley, a 15th-round 2010 draft pick who began the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, was economical, throwing only 87 pitches, walking none and striking out three. He deflected credit to McCann.

"He told me a game plan before the game and we were able to execute it," Whitley said. "Just follow whatever he has in store because that guy has everything. He does."

Rookie right-hander Dellin Betances replaced Whitley and struck out the first two Royals in the eighth before shortstop Alcides Escobar doubled. Betances retired right fielder Nori Aoki on a ground ball to end the inning. He has struck out 61 in 36 innings.

Right-hander David Robertson worked around a double by designated hitter Billy Butler and a walk to left fielder Alex Gordon before logging his 14th save.

Royals right-hander Jeremy Guthrie (2-6) absorbed the loss, yielding four runs, five hits, one walk and a hit batter in seven innings.

"I think I threw the ball alright except for the third inning," Guthrie said. "I had McCann down to two strikes and couldn't finish him off. I threw a couple of pitches trying to finishing him off and wasn't able to do that. The pitch (he hit) was up and up, off the plate. He went out there and slapped it."

Guthrie said it was "apparently not" the way to pitch McCann.

"I only threw one pitch there and he hit it for a three-run double," Guthrie said. "It's probably not the best one to throw. I'll try a different one next time."

McCann hit a bases-clearing double in the third to put the Yankees up 4-1.

"Jeremy tried to go up and away on McCann, a power pull hitter," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It's the first ball he's hit down the left field line all year long. It was a good piece of hitting by McCann. Jeremy did a nice job of holding it from that point on. The three-run third is what ended up getting him."

The Yankees loaded the bases on singles by center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury and left fielder Brett Gardner, and first baseman Mark Teixeira was hit by a Guthrie pitch. All three scored when McCann drilled his double to left, upping his season RBI total to 27 and tie Teixeira for the team lead.

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"That's a huge hit," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's a tough at-bat. He fouls off a lot of tough pitches, a change-up, a curveball, a real slow curveball, and he got a ball up in the zone and it turned into a double."

Gardner extended his hitting streak to 11 games, equaling the longest of the season for the Yankees.

Second baseman Brian Roberts' two-out single in the second scored Teixeira with the first New York run. Teixeira had singled and third baseman Yangervis Solarte walked before Roberts grounded the single to center.

Gordon doubled and scored in the second on catcher Salvador Perez's line single to left for the first Royals run.

Gordon singled in the fifth, stole second and scored on center fielder Lorenzo Cain's double to center, cutting the Yankees' lead to 4-2. But that was all Whitley allowed.

"I thought he kept us off balance with his cutter and changeup, spotted his fastball well enough to set up his cutter and changeup," Yost said. "He did a good job against us. He was in the zone for the most part all night. We missed some pitches that were hittable."

The Yankees won a challenge in the third when Aoki singled and stole second with two out. After a one-minute, 43-second delay for reviews, the call on the field was reversed with Aoki out caught stealing.

NOTES: Yankees manager Joe Girardi altered his batting order, dropping Gardner to the second slot for only the second time, and Ellsbury batted first. "He's been a leadoff hitter most of his career," Girardi said of Ellsbury. ... Yankees SS Derek Jeter, who is playing his final series in Kansas City, was held out of the lineup after playing seven straight games. ... Asked before the game how close his offense was to clicking like he wanted, Yost replied, "Four feet, two inches." ... Yost was noncommittal on whether closer RHP Greg Holland was available Friday after he had pitched in the three previous games. Holland was not needed in the 4-2 loss. "Our bullpen will be in pretty good shape tomorrow," Yost said. ... Yankees RHP Shawn Kelley, who went on the disabled list retroactive to May 13 with a lumbar spine strain, is scheduled to pitch Saturday for Double-A Trenton. Kelley was 1-2 with a 3.52 ERA in 16 relief appearances before the injury.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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