Chase Whitley took the mound tonight, looking to prove that the Yankees can win games started by pitchers who aren't named Masahiro Tanaka, and he did just that. Not only did he notch the first win of his career, but he pitched seven innings, which is a season high. Whitley hadn't even made it past five innings in any of his previous starts, but he got off to a promising start tonight, only throwing six total pitches in the first inning. By the end of his night, he had allowed five hits, zero walks, two earned runs and he struck out three batters.
The Yankees' offense struck early, then stayed quiet for the rest of the game. All of their runs came in the second and third innings. Mark Teixeira led things off the second with a single to right field, and after a walk to Yangervis Solarte, Brian Roberts was able to drive in Tex on a single up the middle. The third inning started in a similar fashion, with Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner hitting back-to-back singles. Teixeira was then hit by a pitch to load the bases for Brian McCann, who drove in all three runs on a double to left. Brendan Ryan, Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki all hit singles later in the game, but no one could drive them in.
Luckily, the Royals struggled to get much of anything going. They scored their first run during the second inning after Alex Gordon doubled to right and Salvador Perez hit an RBI single. Their final run came in the fifth after Gordon singled and Lorenzo Cain doubled on a grounder up the middle. Brian Roberts had a mental lapse at the end of this play, when he decided to run over to first base while Ellsbury was retrieving the ball, leaving no one covering second. Cain took the opportunity to run to second (and it was scored a double). Dellin Betances pitched a clean eighth inning, notching two strikeouts and only allowing one hit. David Robertson was able to close out the game and get the save, but not before he decided to make things a little more interesting. With two outs (both Ks), Billy Butler hit a line drive to deep left. Robertson then walked Gordon, before finally getting Perez to ground into a force out to end the game. Phew.
David Phelps will face off against lefty Danny Duffy tomorrow at 7:15 EST. Finally a Saturday game that doesn't start at 1.