(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Yankees secured their first series win of the season on Saturday. This afternoon Michael Pineda will try to pitch them to their first three-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in over nine years.
Pineda picked up the win on Monday in Baltimore, as he allowed five runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings. He also struck out nine batters without issuing a walk and improved to 1-0 to go along with a 5.11 ERA.
He is 1-1 with a 2.88 ERA in four starts against the Rays. His loss to them last season came despite giving up just one earned run in 5 1/3 innings.
The Yanks can only hope Pineda delivers the way Masahiro Tanaka did on Saturday. Tanaka had eight strikeouts and allowed just two baserunners in seven innings, while Chris Young hit a grand slam to lead New York to a 9-0 win.
Young's blast punctuated a seven-run seventh inning and came after Brian McCann stroked a two-run triple in the sixth for one of his three hits, as the Yanks moved to the brink of completing their first three-game sweep at the Trop since Sept. 13-15, 2005.
"I've been feeling good at the plate since Opening Day," said McCann. "It's early in the season. A couple hits fall here and there, (but) I've been feeling good at the plate."
Tanaka (2-1) carved his way through the Tampa Bay lineup, retiring 15 batters in a row between David DeJesus' leadoff single in the first inning and Brandon Guyer's double to start the sixth.
It was a bounce-back outing of sorts for the 26-year-old right-hander, who gave up nine runs, nine hits and five walks over nine innings in his first two starts of the season.
Rays starter Jake Odorizzi (2-1) was charged with three runs, five hits and two walks but also had nine strikeouts.
"A good ball game that turned somewhat ugly. I thought (Odorizzi) really threw the ball well," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
After the game the Rays designated former closer Grant Balfour, who gave up the Young grand slam, for assignment.
Tampa will hand the ball on Sunday to righty Matt Andriese, who will be making his second start. Andriese started the year in the Rays' pen, but started against Toronto on Tuesday. He only lasted 3 2/3 innings and did not get a decision in his team's 3-2 win.
Tampa won 11 of its 18 meetings with the Yankees last season, but the teams split 10 games at the Trop.