Saturday, May 10, 2014
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Tanaka Improves To 5-0 As Yankees Beat Brewers

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[May 10, 2014]  MILWAUKEE -- Masahiro Tanaka hasn't made too many mistakes during his first major league season; so, on the rare occasion he does, opponents had better take advantage of the opportunity.

On Friday night, Tanaka gave the Brewers several chances, but Milwaukee couldn't cash in and the New York Yankees won 5-3 at Miller Park.

Tanaka has not lost a game in his last 42 regular-season starts -- including his time in the Nippon Professional League -- and is 5-0 this year.

His inaugural interleague experience got off to a good start. He allowed a leadoff walk to center fielder Carlos Gomez -- Tanaka's only walk of the game -- but retired 15 of the next 17 batters.

"It might look like I was kind of cruising at the very beginning, but I don't think I was able to pitch the way I wanted to," he said through an intrepreter. "I think I was getting a little bit lucky.

"I'm just happy I was able to get through tonight."

Tanaka gave up two runs on seven hits and one walk in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out seven.

His offense, meanwhile, struggled through the first few innings against Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo. The right-hander retired six of his first eight batters, but the Yankees finally broke through in the fourth: They put four on the board, including a three-run home run by third baseman Yangervis Solarte.

Right fielder Carlos Beltran drew a leadoff walk and, after first baseman Mark Teixeria popped out to short, catcher Brain MaCann singled up the middle. Gallardo's first pitch to Solarte was a hanging slider that Solarte drove to right for his second home run of the season, giving the Yankees a 3-0 lead.

"He's obviously had a great first five or six weeks," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Solarte. "He's played well and he deserves to be out there."

Left fielder Brett Gardner kept the inning going by beating out a grounder to short. He scored on second baseman Brian Roberts' double, which made it 4-0. Gallardo then struck out Tanaka and got center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury to fly out to left field to end the inning.

Gallardo recovered with a 1-2-3 inning in the fifth; but, after a two-out walk to Gardner in the sixth, he had thrown 114 pitches and gave way to left-hander Zach Duke.

Gallardo gave up five hits, walked three and struck out seven in 5 2/3 innings.

"I felt good," Gallardo said. "I felt like the ball was coming out nice and easy and just locating it. That's what's frustrating about this game. You want to stay away from that big inning. Today I made that mistake. I left it up in the zone and he hit it out. That's what big league hitters are going to do in that situation."

With a comfortable lead, Tanaka made quick work of the Brewers in the fifth. But he allowed back-to-back leadoff doubles to Gomez and second baseman Scooter Gennett to open the sixth, as Milwaukee cut the deficit to 4-1.

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Catcher Jonathan Lucroy made it a 4-2 game with an RBI single up the middle. But third baseman Aramis Ramirez, mired in a 4-for-50 slump, bounced into a double play and first baseman Mark Reynolds struck out.

Milwaukee put runners at the corners with one out in the seventh, bringing Tanaka's day to an end. But again the Brewers failed to take advantage of the opportunity as pinch hitter Lyle Overbay struck out against righty Adam Warren and left fielder Logan Schafer was caught trying to steal second for an inning-ending double play.

"I don't want to say exactly what he was supposed to do, but we messed it up," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "It wasn't Schafer. I should say Schafer didn't get everything he was supposed to get. It was just messed up."

Gomez finished the day 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored, but the Brewers went 2-for-5 with runners in scoring position and stranded four -- two at third base.

"It was there," Roenicke said. "You know going into it (Tanaka is) not going to give up many runs. You have to pitch really well to beat him."

Beltran added an insurance run in the eighth, leading off with a double and stealing third before scoring on Teixeira's groundout.

Milwaukee got back within two in the ninth on Reynolds' eighth home run of the season, but David Robertson struck out the final two batters for his sixth save of the season.

NOTES: This is the Yankees' first appearance in Milwaukee since 2005. The only other meeting between the former American League East rivals came at Yankee Stadium in 2011. ... Brewers CF Carlos Gomez appealed his three-game suspension on Friday in a meeting with Major League Baseball, which is expected to issue its decision early next week. Gomez was suspended for his role in a bench-clearing brawl last month at Pittsburgh.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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