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Yankees cool off Rays behind McCann's blast

NEW YORK -- The Yankees (12-8) took sole possession of first place in the American League East on Monday night with a 4-1 win over the Rays (11-9) at Yankee Stadium. It snapped Tampa Bay's five-game winning streak and pushed the Yankees' record to 4-0 against the Rays this season.

Brian McCann's solo home run off Brandon Gomes in the sixth snapped a 1-1 tie. Carlos Beltran followed with a double to center and scored one out later when Stephen Drew doubled to right off Everett Teaford.

The Yankees scored first when Gomes took over for Nathan Karns in the fifth with two outs and the bases loaded. Brett Gardner walked to drive home the run. The Rays answered in the top of the sixth when David DeJesus scored on a fielder's choice to tie the game at 1.

"It's pitching," said DeJesus of the difference for the Rays' offense, which had just six hits after clicking for 35 in its previous three games. "Both sides had a good game. Just a couple of walks late. A couple of timely hits by them. But it was a good-pitched game."

Walk to a run: The Yankees didn't need to hit the ball out of the infield to score the game's first run. In fact, they barely had to hit it at all. With two out and nobody on in the fifth inning, Karns walked Drew. Didi Gregorius followed with an infield single, and when Karns walked Jacoby Ellsbury to load the bases, Rays manager Kevin Cash pulled Karns for Gomes. Gomes then walked Gardner to force in the run. More >

Video: TB@NYY: Gardner knocks in a run on bases-loaded walk

Bullpen brilliance: For the second straight night, Yankees relievers were nearly unhittable. Five relievers combined for 4 2/3 hitless innings in Sunday's 6-4 win over the Mets, and four relievers added 3 1/3 scoreless innings of one-hit ball against the Rays. Manager Joe Girardi isn't officially naming Andrew Miller the closer, but Girardi again had Dellin Betances pitch the eighth and Miller the ninth. Miller now has eight saves in as many chances, becoming the first pitcher in Yankees history to record eight saves in the first 20 games of a season. More >

Video: 4/27/15: Miller strikes out Elmore for the save

"We have some really good arms down there that know how to pitch," Girardi said. "When we give our bullpen the lead, we feel pretty good about it."

Aggressive DeJesus: DeJesus willed in a run for the Rays in the sixth after the Yankees took a 1-0 lead in the fifth. He singled off Adam Warren to lead off the inning and moved to second on a wild pitch before taking third when Steven Souza Jr. flied out to center field. With the Yankees infield drawn in, DeJesus boldly broke for the plate on contact when Asdrubal Cabrera grounded to second. Drew fielded the ball and threw a one-hopper home. DeJesus made a diving slide and managed to touch home before getting tagged by McCann.

Video: TB@NYY: Cabrera knocks in a run on fielder's choice

"We're going on contact," DeJesus said. "See it down, go. We're just taking a shot that he bobbles it. That's exactly what happened."

"They're very tough. And they both handle right and left. Betances looks like he just hands the ball right to the catcher the way he strides. ... They don't look like very fun at-bats by any means." -- Cash, on New York's back-end combination of Betances and Miller

"Well, it's better than the alternative." -- Girardi, on being in first place on April 27

Video: TB@NYY:Girardi on team's effort in win

Evan Longoria extended his hitting streak to six games, but he struck out in the first inning to end career-high streaks of seven consecutive hits and eight consecutive plate appearances reaching base.

• Both of McCann's home runs this year have come at Yankee Stadium. That's no surprise. Since coming to the Yankees, McCann has hit 21 of his 25 home runs at home.

Rays: Jake Odorizzi will start Tuesday as the series continues at 7:05 p.m. ET. He is 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA in one road start this season. The right-hander's home/road performance varied greatly in 2014, when he pitched to a 2.62 ERA in 17 starts at Tropicana Field and a 6.32 ERA on the road.

Yankees: Chase Whitley joins the rotation for a spot start in the second game of this series at Yankee Stadium. Tampa Bay counters with Odorizzi, whose only loss this season was to the Yankees.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for Danny Knobler is a contributor to
Read More: Stephen Drew, Andrew Miller, Nathan Karns, Brian McCann, Adam Warren