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Yankees 9, Astros 6: Late rally salvages ugly start by Masahiro Tanaka

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Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees got off to a quick start in Saturday's game against the Astros, plating four runs before Houston ever had a chance to bat. One large temper tantrum by Brett Oberholtzer later, the team had a six-run lead. That lead melted away at the hands of Masahiro Tanaka, but some late-game heroics by the offense managed to salvage a win out of what would have been a horribly disappointing loss.

Brett Gardner led off the game with a double, staying red-hot at the plate. Oberholtzer lost the strike zone, walking Chris Young and Alex Rodriguez to load the bases. A shallow pop up by Mark Teixeira failed to advance the runners before Brian McCann stepped to the plate and sent Oberholtzer's offering deep into the seats. Gardner doubled again in the second inning and came around to score on a Chris Young home run, who continues to swing a hot bat within the confines of Minute Maid Park. Then things got ugly.

Immediately following Young's home run, Oberholtzer (absolutely intentionally) threw way inside on the first pitch to Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez avoided being plunked by the baseball, but the umpire (and everyone watching) knew what the intent behind the pitch was. Rather than allowing Oberholtzer to stay out there and pout like an infant, or do actual bodily harm to someone, the umpire rightfully tossed him from the game without argument from the pitcher. He made no attempt to convince anyone he didn't mean to do it, which gives me every reason to believe he did. Way to go, guy. CC Sabathia was, predictably, the first guy out of the dugout ready to throw down. Maybe that can be his new gig on the team.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the only ugliness of the game. Masahiro Tanaka proceeded to melt down, allowing three home runs and six total runs to tie the game in just five innings of work. It was the second straight rough outing for the Yankees' ace, which will only fuel the fire of people who believe he should have already had Tommy John surgery. The bottom line is that the Yankees need more out of their best pitcher going forward.

New York recaptured the lead in the top of the eighth inning when Teixeira drove in Gardner and Young with a double. Gardner had reached base for the fourth time in the game via a walk and raised his batting average to a nice even .300 with his three hits on the day. Chase Headley then added some breathing room to the lead with a long home run in the ninth that might not yet have landed. It went over the railroad tracks of Minute Maid Park, never to be seen again.

Credit goes to the Yankees bullpen for keeping the Astros off the scoreboard after Tanaka's short outing. Chasen Shreve was amazing once again, but Bryan Mitchell also deserves praise for his 1.1 scoreless innings. Justin Wilson and Dellin Betances closed things out, and the latter picked up his sixth save of the year.

The Yankees will try to take three of the four games with a win tomorrow. Michael Pineda takes on Collin McHugh at 2:10 pm.