[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
"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
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
"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
"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.
"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
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
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.