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Yankees stumble out of the starting blocks, fall to Padres 5-4

A bad first inning put the Yankees in a hole they could not get out of.

MLB: San Diego Padres at New York Yankees Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

In his previous four starts, Masahiro Tanaka allowed a combined four runs in over 25 innings. With that in mind, one would feel pretty good about him facing off against an undeerwhelming Padres’ lineup.

Instead, San Diego scored four runs by the time Tanaka recorded his first out. The Padres tagged Tanaka for five runs, four earned, on nine hits and two walks. The Yankees got back into the game after that, but they never got out in front. The Friars led wire-to-wire and eventually sealed a 5-4 win.

The game started about as frustratingly as possibly when DJ LeMahieu made an error on a grounder in the very first at-bat. After a Franmil Reyes single, Manny Machado dropped a blooper in for another, scoring a run. Eric Hosmer then dealt the big blow, bringing everyone home with a dinger to make it 4-0 extremely early.

The Yankees got one of those runs back in the fourth. With nobody on and out out, Gary Sanchez crushed a home run into Monument Park, getting the Yankees on the board. The Padres, however, went and got the run back a few innings later. After a couple of one-out singles, Greg Garcia laid down a squeeze bunt, which allowed him to reach safely and plated another run.

Tanaka managed to get through six innings, which is way longer than anyone would have guessed he’d go after the first inning. He wasn’t good, but he at least settled down. That allowed the Yankees to keep San Diego within striking distance for their seventh-inning rally.

In that frame, the Yankees loaded the bases on a pair of walks and a Brett Gardner single. That brought LeMahieu to the plate. LeMahieu’s stats with runners in scoring position have been great this year, and that didn’t change here. He delivered with a single, bringing home two runs. Another scored on an Aaron Hicks force out grounder two batters later, getting the Yankees within one run.

Joseph Harvey and Luis Cessa combined to throw three scoreless innings in relief of Tanaka, running into trouble only in the eighth. That kept the Yankees in it in the ninth, where they put the tying tun on base when a pinch-hitting Gio Urshela singled. However, that’s as close as the rally would get as former Yankee Kirby Yates finished things off.

Baseball is weird. Sometimes that can mean one of your best pitchers allows as many runs in a couple of batters as he had in the prior couple of weeks.

Box score.