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Yankees 1, Athletics 4: Masahiro Tanaka strikes out a career-high 13 batters, Yanks still lose

Tanaka put together his first good outing in weeks, but the bullpen and offense didn’t do him any favors.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at New York Yankees Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

All eyes were on Masahiro Tanaka tonight, and this outing was exactly what he needed. After giving up a whopping 14 earned runs over his last two starts (over just 4.2 innings), Tanaka put together a bounce-back performance tonight. Through seven and one-third innings, Tanaka struck out a career-high 13 batters and didn’t issue a single walk. It might be too soon to determine whether Tanaka is fixed, but this start was certainly a step in the right direction.

It looked like Tanaka might be able to make it through the eighth inning, but he was removed from the game after giving up a one-out single to Adam Rosales. Tyler Clippard took over and chaos ensued. With Rajai Davis at the plate, Clippard turned and made an errant throw to Chris Carter. The ball flew past Carter and allowed Rosales to advance to third base. Davis hit a grounder to Headley and Rosales was called out at the plate. Clippard then issued a walk to Matt Joyce. Back-to-back singles by Jed Lowrie and Khris Davis gave the Athletics a 2-0 lead.

Jonathan Holder entered the game in the ninth and didn’t fare much better than Clippard. After Trevor Plouffe worked a lead-off walk, Stephen Vogt followed with a home run to right field.

Unfortunately, the Yankees couldn’t get much going against Sean Manaea tonight and Tanaka’s start was wasted. The Yankees mustered just three hits through the first six innings of the game. In the seventh, Aaron Judge singled on a ball that fell into shallow right field. With one out, Didi Gregorius reached on catcher interference. Chase Headley continued to frustrate everyone by grounding into a double play to end the inning.

Headed into the ninth inning without a run on the board, it appeared as though the Yankees would be shut out for the first time all season. Santiago Casilla took the mound and issued a lead-off walk to Aaron Hicks. Starlin Castro hit a one-out single up the middle, and Aaron Judge walked to load the bases. Gregorius battled to stay alive and ultimately hit a sac fly to left field to bring Hicks home. Not wanting to give Headley a chance to stop the rally, Joe Girardi sent Gary Sanchez out as a pinch hitter. He popped out to second base to end the game.

The Yankees will be back at it tomorrow with CC Sabathia set to face off against Jharel Cotton. The game starts at 1:05 PM EST and you can catch it on YES and/or MLBN.

Box score