Gardner, Beltran combine for that old 1-2

Considering the circumstances, the Yankees could not have asked for a better start of Wednesday night’s game. With Jacoby Ellsbury going on the 15-day disabled list due to a sprained right knee ligament, the top of the Yankees’ batting order required a readjustment.

Taking over Ellsbury’s leadoff spot was Brett Gardner, who is not unfamiliar with the role having filled it often in the past, especially before Ellsbury joined the Yankees last year. Carlos Beltran, who has had a good May following an ugly April, was moved into the 2-hole.

Gardner led off the game against Jordan Zimmermann with a flare single into right field. Batting left-handed against the right-handed Zimmermann, Beltran drove a line drive to right-center for a double that easily scored Gardner. Beltran crossed to third as Mark Teixeira grounded out to first and scored on a fly ball to center field by Brian McCann.

Gardner and Beltran basically did an impression of Ellsbury and Gardner in getting the Yankees’ offense jump-started.

Taking Ellsbury’s place on the 25-man roster was outfielder Slade Heathcott, whose contract was purchased from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Pitcher Chase Whitley, who underwent Tommy John surgery Tuesday, was placed on the 60-day DL to create space on the 40-man roster for Heathcott.

Yankees starter Adam Warren gave back a run in the bottom of the first as Ian Desmond hit a first-inning, solo homer for the second straight game.

Warren and the Yankees caught a huge break in the third when plate umpire Marvin Hudson ejected Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper from the game during his at-bat that inning. Harper took exception to a low pitch that was called a strike and walked out of the batter’s box. Hudson ordered Harper back into the box, which led to heated words between the two.

After Harper was thumbed, Nats manager Matt Williams took up the argument, and he got tossed as well. Of course, his loss was not anywhere as serious to the Nationals as that of Harper, the National League leader in home runs, slugging and on-base plus slugging. The Yankees probably wanted to send Hudson a thank-you note.

Even without Harper, Washington was not hurting for the long ball. Tyler Moore tied the score with two out in the fourth with his third home run of the year and the Nats’ sixth homer in 14 innings of this series.

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