#Tanaka Remains Unbeaten
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, MAY 4- On Saturday afternoon, the Yankees ended a three-game losing streak with a 6-3 victory over the Tampa Rays. The outcome also terminated the three-game winning streak for the Rays.
Masahiro Tanaka, the starting pitcher for the Yanks, remained undefeated after his sixth start in the majors. His credit for the win raised his win/loss mark to 4-0 this season. During his stint on Saturday, the 25 year-old yielded eight hits and three runs. He did not issue a walk for the third of his six starting assignments.
The five batters he fanned raised his total of strikeouts this season to 51, the fifth highest in the major leagues since 1900, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The win credited to Tanaka extends his two continent (Japan and North America) win streak to 32 regular season decisions. The last contest he lost occurred on August 9, 2012, when he pitched for the Rakuten Golden Eagles.
On Saturday afternoon, Tanaka was not blessed with his best stuff. Both he and Yankee skipper Joe Girardi discussed the problem. Girardi commented, “I didn’t think his command with his fastball was too good at first [and] that got him into trouble.”
The young hurler admitted he had problems, “All my pitches weren’t there today. They weren’t crisp.”
As has happened on several occasions this year, Tanaka was touched for runs early in the game. Desmond Phillips, the second batter he faced, homered to right to put Tampa on the board in the first.
Three base hits led to a second Tampa run in the second.
The third and final run for the Rays was scored on a lead-off home run by Will Myers in the fourth. Myers loves the new Yankee Stadium as he has hit successfully in all 12 games he has played in the Bronx ballpark. He thus raised the mark for consecutive games hitting safely at the start of a career in either Yankee Stadium.
After the home run, Tanaka only surrendered two singles in his final four innings on the mound. This was noted by those most involved in the accomplishment.
Yankee catcher Brian McCann remarked, “After the third inning, he settled down. It’s hard to believe he’s 25; he has such poise on the mound.”
His manager added to the words of praise, “He’s good at making adjustments. [With Tanaka], you’re going to get a guy who competes, who gives you distance and who keeps you in the game.”
Tanaka responded to questions about his early game difficulties, “I really don’t know why the slow starts. I wish I could be better. I’m glad I was able to battle my way back through the game.”
Interesting batting stats-Mark Teixeira’s first pitch home run in the fourth was his fourth in the last five games and his fifth in his last eight. The three hits by James Loney, first sacker for the Rays, upped his average in 23 games against the Yanks since signing with Rays before last season to .410. Ichiro Suzuki has hit safely in 9 of his 11 starts. His two doubles on Saturday moved his batting average to a team high .375. Three hits by Jacoby Ellsbury gave him a batting average of .346.
Starting the final game of the three game series on Sunday afternoon will be CC Sabathia for the Yanks and Erik Bedard for the Rays.