It was a tough start for Masahiro Tanaka in his Yankee Stadium debut, but he certainly impressed the crowd with his ten strikeouts. The Yankees offense put in another unremarkable effort against another unremarkable pitcher while Shawn Kelley did not make anyone forget that closer David Robertson is on the 15-day DL.
Tanaka's opposition would be Orioles veteran righty Miguel Gonzalez. The first inning was scoreless, but the second inning saw both pitchers get touched up for homers. With Matt Wieters and Ryan Flaherty aboard, Tanaka hung a slider right down the middle of the plate to Jonathan Schoop that just hooked fair around the left-field fair pole for Schoop's first career homer. The Yankees got two back in the bottom of the inning, as Carlos Beltran hit a second-deck solo blast for his first home run in pinstripes. Kelly Johnson followed two batters later with a solo home run of his own, setting the score at 3-2 Orioles.
Things remained that way until Beltran snagged his second extra base hit in the fourth, lining a Gonzalez offering into the right field corner. A well placed flyout from Brian McCann and groundout by Alfonso Soriano knotted up the game. That was it from either team for a while as both starters settled into grooves. Tanaka began fanning batters with regularity while not making any more mistakes as he made his way through seven impressive innings.
The Yankees next had a golden opportunity in the bottom of the eighth, when Brett Gardner led off the inning with a double. After Derek Jeter bunted him to third, Jacoby Ellsbury popped out and McCann stranded him with a flyout to center. Vice-closer Shawn Kelley came into the game and allowed four consecutive hits to start the inning which led to two Orioles runs. It didn't take long for the Yankees to miss the services of David Robertson. The Yankees almost rallied in the bottom of the ninth against O's closer Tommy Hunter but couldn't turn first and third with none out into more than one run as Yangervis Solarte ended the game with a routine double play.
It was far from easy sailing for Tanaka early on similarly to his first game in Toronto, but as the game went on the batters he faced continually flailed at his splitter and other offerings en route to a ten strikeout, 1 walk effort (18/1 ratio thus far). If it were not for a few hanging mistakes early on in the game his statline would look that much better. But his scouting report did say that he will occasionally hang his slider so it could be something to keep an eye on as his career develops. His stuff overall, however, has proven nothing short of electric. Offensively, it was a good sign to see Carlos Beltran finally break out of the doldrums while Brian McCann remains firmly entrenched in them.
Another tough loss against an AL East foe, but the Yankees get no opportunities to lick their wounds. Tomorrow they welcome the despised Boston Red Sox to the Stadium for the first of a four game series at 7:05 PM. Clay Buchholz and Michael Pineda are the probables.