KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Chase Whitley pitched seven innings for his first career win, Brian McCann drove in three runs with a timely double and the New York Yankees beat the Kansas City Royals 4-2 on Friday night.
Brian Roberts drove in a run for the Yankees, who finally gave their young right-hander some support. Whitley (1-0) had allowed five earned runs in his first four starts, and left two of them with the lead, only for his team to saddle him with a series of no-decisions.
McCann helped take care of that with one swing of the bat. His bases-loaded double off Jeremy Guthrie (2-6) in the third inning broke a 1-all tie and gave New York the lead for good.
Dellin Betances worked around a double by Alcides Escobar in the eighth, and David Robertson retired Salvador Perez with runners on first and second in the ninth to earn his 14th save.
Perez and Lorenzo Cain drove in runs for the Royals.
Making their only scheduled visit to Kauffman Stadium, the Yankees won their second straight on the heels of a four-game losing streak. They also established some much-needed confidence as they began a 10-game trip that will take them through Seattle and Oakland.
The Royals figured they were catching a break during the four-game series by missing Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka, who pitched his way to a 2-1 win over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday.
Whitley made them wish they were facing the Japanese star.
Mixing his fastball with an effective slider and change-up, the former 15th-round draft pick allowed five hits while striking out three without issuing a walk in the longest start of his career. Whitley had never lasted more than five innings in the big leagues.
The Yankees took a 1-0 lead on a single by Roberts in the second inning, and Kansas City promptly answered when Perez followed a double by Alex Gordon with his own RBI single.
New York quickly regained the lead in the third.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner led off with singles, and Guthrie grazed Mark Teixeira on the shoulder to load the bases with one out. That’s when McCann connected for his double to left, giving the Yankees what turned out to be an insurmountable 4-1 lead.
Guthrie kept the Royals in the game, retiring his final nine hitters. His weak-hitting offense even got a run back in the fifth when Cain drove in Gordon with a double.
Still, it was not enough for Guthrie to avoid his sixth straight losing decision and his 11th consecutive start without a win. In the last five of them, the veteran right-hander has received a total of three runs of support.
NOTES: Yankees SS Derek Jeter got the night off. Asked whether he felt he needed it, he replied: “I never feel like I need a day.” … The Royals traded LHP Justin Marks to Oakland for cash considerations. He was designated for assignment Monday. … New York RHP David Phelps and Royals LHP Danny Duffy are starting Saturday night.