Monday, April 28, 2014
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Tanaka Fans 11; Yankees Rally Past Angels

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[April 28, 2014]  NEW YORK  New York Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka had an off night Sunday against the Los Angeles Angels.

The fact that he struck out 11 while throwing 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball indicates how well his first major league season is going.

"It shows you that he has the ability when he doesn't have his greatest command, his best stuff, that he finds a way to get through innings," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "The guy really competes. That's what he does."

Despite Tanaka's efforts, the Yankees needed a passed ball and a wild pitch to produce the tiebreaking run in the eighth inning, lifting New York to a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels.

New York won the final two games of the three-game series.

Angels reliever Michael Kohn (1-1) walked Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury leading off the eighth. After striking out shortstop Derek Jeter, Kohn walked right fielder Carlos Beltran. Reliever Nick Maronde replaced Kohn, and a passed ball advanced runners to second and third before Maronde threw the decisive wild pitch.

"It's a hassle watching Ellsbury on the bases," Girardi said. "The pitcher hurrying puts pressure on the catcher. He effects the inning with his speed, there's no doubt about that."


Angels catcher Chris Iannetta said of the passed ball, "I just missed it. It was a fastball right there, and I just missed it. You catch I don't know how many balls a year, and that doesn't happen, but it did. Can't do anything about it now.

"I don't care what you're trying to do  frame it, stand on your head and catch it, it doesn't matter. You have to catch it. It's one of the dumbest plays I've made in my career  or not made."

The Angels' bullpen squandered a solid starting effort from Garrett Richards, who threw seven innings of two-run ball. He allowed three hits and two walks while striking out seven.

Yankees reliever Adam Warren (1-1) threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings to earn the win. Closer David Robertson struck out two in the ninth for his fourth save.

By fanning 11 Angels, Tanaka recorded the most strikeouts in a game by a Yankees rookie pitcher since Orlando Hernandez struck out 13 batters in 1998 against the Texas Rangers. It was hard work for Tanaka, who threw 108 pitches on the night.

"I was giving up long balls and doubles, and that caused my pitch numbers to go up because of that," said Tanaka, who has 46 strikeouts over 35 2/3 innings in five starts. "I wasn't trying to give up any runs, and in order to do so, you sometimes have to let those pitch numbers go up."

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The Angels moved in front 2-1 when designated hitter David Freese took Tanaka deep on the first pitch of the sixth inning. The solo shot to right-center was Freese's second of the season.

Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira led off the seventh with a solo home run to tie the score at 2. Teixeira's second of the year let Tanaka off the hook, extending a streak of almost two years since Tanaka's last regular-season loss. He went 24-0 last season for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan.

"Obviously I was really happy that the score was tied," Tanaka said. "I was hoping that our offense could come back and put us in the game."

The Angels took their first lead in the fourth inning. Shortstop Erick Aybar hit a leadoff double, and a hit batsman and a walk loaded the bases with one out. Left fielder J.B. Shuck grounded into a fielder's choice for the game's first run.

The Yankees tied the game in the fifth. Teixeira walked and went to third on second baseman Brian Roberts' one-out double. Left fielder Ichiro Suzuki grounded out to shortstop, knocking in Teixeira.

NOTES: The Yankees recalled RHP Preston Claiborne from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. RHP Bruce Billings went on the 15-day disabled list with a right forearm strain retroactive to Saturday. ... The Angels optioned OF Brennan Boesch to Triple-A Salt Lake after he hit .231 with no RBIs in seven games. RHP Mike Morin, a 22-year-old who had five saves between Double-A and Triple-A this season, was called up. ... Yankees OF Brett Gardner (sore foot) and INF Yangervis Solarte (bruised shoulder) did not start Sunday night. ...The Angels last were over .500 when they started the 2013 season 1-0. It is the franchise's longest stretch without being over .500 since the 1970s. ... Angels 1B Albert Pujols ranks second in the majors with nine home runs. Chicago White Sox 1B Jose Abreu is on top with 10.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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