Masahiro Tanaka turned in another incredible performance in his third MLB start in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Cubs, striking out ten batters over eight innings in a 3-0 Yankees victory. Tanaka needed only 107 pitches to get through eight innings, allowing one walk and only two bunt singles by Junior Lake and Anthony Rizzo. Lake was originally called out at first base before video replay overturned the call. The ten strikeouts gave Tanaka 28 strikeouts in his young MLB career, breaking the Yankees record for most strikeouts by a pitcher in their first three MLB starts previously held by Al Leiter with 25.
Crazy good company MT @yestoresearch Last 4 NYY RHPs with back-to-back 10+ K games: Tanaka ('14), Clemens ('02), Mussina ('01), Cone ('98)— Pinstripe Alley (@pinstripealley) April 16, 2014
Carlos Beltran stayed hot with the bat to get the scoring started in the first inning with a solo home run. Last week's AL Player of the Week has been on a roll as of late, especially in the power department. He also reached base on a walk later in the game. Dean Anna drove in the Yankees' second run of the day with a sac fly that scored Brian McCann, who had reached on a single, from third base. The final run came in odd fashion when Jacoby Ellsbury swung at a pitch where his bat obviously clipped the glove of Cubs catcher John Baker. The ball rolled up the first base line where Ellsbury was tagged out while Brett Gardner, who doubled and advanced on an out, came in to score. The play was correctly ruled as catcher's interference but Joe Girardi opted to have Ellsbury called out so that the run would be allowed to stand. It was one of those weird rules that seemingly no one knew existed because it's so infrequently called.
In addition to driving in Gardner on what was probably the weirdest play of the game, Ellsbury also continued to swing a hot bat with a double, a walk, and his league-leading 7th stolen base. He also made a diving play in center field to preserve Tanaka's outstanding performance. Yangervis Solarte reached base twice with two walks and Kelly Johnson also chipped in a single as part of only five hits for the Yankees. Only five hits proved to be more than enough today with Tanaka on the mound.
The Yankees and Cubs will be back at it again tonight for today's regularly scheduled game. Michael Pineda and Travis Wood get the start as the teams honor Jackie Robinson with 42 jerseys after yesterday's rainout. The game will begin at 7:05 and your next game thread will be posted about 30 minutes before that.