Tampa Bay needed seven pitchers to come away with a win on Monday night, which prompted the recall of Chirinos from Triple-A Durham on Tuesday -- ostensibly to pitch deep into the game. He did just that, holding the Yankees to three runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings.
"I thought he was outstanding, I really did," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
Tuesday's start was Chirinos' longest outing of his career.
"Honestly, I just tried to stay as focused as I could against [the Yankees'] lineup," Chirinos said. "I feel good. The goal is to just continue to pitch just like I did last year. It's good to be up here again."
The powerful Yankees had to chip away at Chirinos, scoring on groundouts in the first and fifth innings before Austin Romine's sacrifice fly in the seventh built a 3-0 lead. The way Tanaka pitched, the Rays felt further behind. Tanaka retired the first 12 batters he faced before C.J. Cron broke the spell with a single to center field to lead off the fifth. Tanaka allowed two additional hits and a walk while striking out nine in his complete-game masterpiece.
According to Cash, hitting coach Chad Mottola's message to the hitters was "spot on" before the game.
"[Tanaka is] going to throw a lot of offspeed pitches," Cash said. "He's going to try to get you to chase below the zone, and we did that. Look, he made two or three mistakes all night. When you pitch like that you're going to have success."
Added Jake Bauers, who went 0-for-3 with a strikeout: "He was mixing his pitches really good. Throwing everything for strikes. Keeping everything down, obviously, when you have stuff like that. Keeping it all down, throwing some of it for strikes. Throwing some of it out of the zone. It's not easy."
Chih-Wei Hu covered the final 2 1/3 innings for the Rays, allowing only an RBI single to Neil Walker to equal the final margin.
"Huge for the bullpen to get basically a clean day with just two pitchers," Cash said.
A rested bullpen brought the only solace for the Rays on Tuesday night.
SOUND SMART Tuesday night was the first time the Rays have lost by more than one run at home since May 25, when they lost to the Orioles, 2-0. That streak covered 25 games.
HE SAID IT "Just ran into a dude who had an unreal night." -- Bauers, on Tanaka
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY The Rays challenged a call in the fourth when a ball Miguel Andujar hit down the left-field line was called fair. Andujar pulled into second base with a double. After a review of one minute and 23 seconds, the call on the field was overturned. Tampa Bay challenged another call in the seventh when Andujar was called safe at third after Greg Bird doubled. After a one-minute, 35-second review, the call stood.
UP NEXT Nathan Eovaldi will get the nod when the Rays host the Yankees Wednesday in a 12:10 p.m. ET contest at Tropicana Field. Eovaldi has gone at least six innings in six of his last seven starts. Of the 27 runs he's allowed, 11 have come by way of home runs. Right-hander Luis Cessa will start for the Yankees.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.