Bronx, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Brian McCann drove in three runs and the New York Yankees continued their early-season dominance of the Tampa Bay Rays by coming through with a 4-2 victory on Tuesday.
McCann, one night after belting a tie-breaking homer during New York's 4-1 win in the opener of this three-game series, and Jacoby Ellsbury fueled the Yankees' fifth triumph in as many meetings with Tampa Bay this month. The former's three RBI came on a pair of doubles, while Ellsbury finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored to help New York win for the seventh time in its last eight overall.
A solid spot start from Chase Whitley (1-0) also aided the cause, with the right-hander holding the Rays to a run and striking out five over five innings shortly after being recalled from Triple-A.
Whitley could be getting a few more turns in the Yankee rotation, as general manager Brian Cashman announced during Tuesday's game that staff ace Masahiro Tanaka is expected to miss at least a month after straining his right forearm.
"We want to make sure that we protect, obviously, the elbow because obviously the forearm protects the elbow," said Cashman in reference to the slight ulnar collateral ligament tear that Tanaka has been pitching through. "We want to make sure that this doesn't lead to the more horrific problems that we're trying to avoid."
All four New York runs came against Jake Odorizzi (2-2), reached for nine hits over a 6 1/3-inning stint.
The Yankees took advantage of a shaky opening inning from Odorizzi to put up a pair of quick runs, and Whitley was able to work out of several jams throughout his outing to protect the early lead.
Ellsbury's leadoff single was turned into the game's first run when he reached third on a throwing error from Rays catcher Rene Rivera during a steal attempt and was pushed home on Brett Gardner's groundout. Mark Teixeira and McCann followed with back-to-back doubles that extended New York's edge to 2-0.
Whitley escaped out of a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the second inning but was touched for a run in the third, as Steven Souza's one-out walk preceded Asdrubal Cabrera's RBI double into the gap in right center. Though Cabrera was on third with still one down after a wild pitch, Whitley averted further damage once more by striking out Evan Longoria and James Loney in succession.
"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."
The Rays also stranded a runner at third in the fourth, one of 10 men left on base by the club on the night. Tampa Bay finished a poor 1-of-12 with runners in scoring position.
"It seems like we've had some quality at-bats in that situation and not got them in, and then we've had some not quality at-bats," Rays manager Kevin Cash remarked. "It's just that those guys are making good pitches and we're not capitalizing on those opportunities."
McCann came up with a clutch hit for New York an inning later, drilling a two- out double that brought home Ellsbury and Gardner, both of whom singled earlier off Odorizzi.
Tampa Bay managed to get one run back in the sixth, as Loney drew a walk in front of Logan Forsythe's triple to left center off Chasen Shreve that trimmed the lead to 4-2.
The Rays got no closer, though. Esmil Rogers turned in 2 2/3 near-flawless innings after taking over for Shreve in the sixth, and Chris Martin gave up just a two-out single in the ninth en route to his first career save.
Tanaka was scheduled to start Wednesday's series finale. Michael Pineda will instead draw the assignment for the Yankees while working on regular rest ... Tampa Bay is now 2-of-36 with runners in scoring position over its five losses to New York this season, during which the Rays have mustered just nine runs ... McCann is now 10-of-16 with six extra-base hits lifetime against Odorizzi ... Odorizzi also lost to the Yankees back on April 18 at Tropicana Field, while then matched up against Tanaka ... Cabrera, Loney, Forsythe and Kevin Kiermaier all finished with two hits for the Rays.