Between Monday’s extra inning game, and the close games on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Yankees bullpen has been taxed of late. They could have really used a good outing from Masahiro Tanaka to wrap up the series against the Angels.
For a while, it looked like they were getting that. Tanaka got through the first couple innings hitless, and generally cruised early on. The Yankees’ offense got him a couple early runs, and things looked pretty good for them to finish off the sweep. Then the fifth inning started.
Tanaka’s home run bugaboo appeared in fifth, and saw him knocked out of the game the following inning. The bullpen, minus the elite pieces, then didn’t really help things after that. In total, the Angels scored 11 runs from the fifth through seventh innings, and that was pretty much that. The Yankees had no answer and lost the series finale in Los Angeles by a score of 11-5.
The Yankees got on the board in the third in a similar manner to how they scored the winning run last night: speed. Tyler Wade led off the inning with an infield single, and proceeded to steal second and third base. DJ LeMahieu then brought him home with a single, giving the Yankees an early lead.
An inning later, they added to their lead in a more traditional Yankees manner. With two outs in the fourth, Gio Urshela took a Trevor Cahill pitch over the left center field wall, doubling the lead.
Then in the fifth, the Yankees tacked on another couple runs. The heart of the Yankees’ order did their part, loading the bases to kick off the inning. After Cahill recorded the first out of the inning, he threw a wild pitch, allowing one run to score. Gleyber Torres followed that up with an RBI single, making it 4-0, and seemingly putting the Yankees on the way to a win.
Tanaka had not allowed a hit in the first three innings. In the fourth, he allowed a single to Mike Trout to break up the no-hitter, but that wound up being the least of his worries, as in the fifth things came back down to earth.
Jonathan Lucroy led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a single. He was immediately followed by Tommy La Stella, who homered to cut the Yankees’ lead in half. After Tanaka recorded one out, that scenario repeated itself. Luis Rengifo singled, and Kole Calhoun homered, tying the game up at four.
Tanaka came back for the sixth and got two outs, but left with two runners on. Jonathan Holder took over for him, and well. The first batter he faced was David Fletcher, who brought home both runners with a single.
Things came completely unraveled in the seventh. The back end of the bullpen — Stephen Tarpley and Joseph Harvey — imploded, allowing five runs in the inning, and pretty much ending any chance the Yankees still had.
The Angels gave the Yankees a lifeline in the eighth, loading the bases on a LeMahieu single and a couple walks. Reliever Cody Allen walked in one run, but the Yankees ended up leaving the bases loaded. They didn’t mount any sort of rally in the ninth, dooming them to a series-ending loss.
The Yankees may have lost on Thursday but on the whole, the series was still a pretty solid start to their West Coast road trip.