The Yankees left Fenway Park victorious last night in one of MLB’s heavyweight clashes thanks to a solid defence led by pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.
The Japanese star conceded just two runs in his seven 1/3 innings which suffocated any Red Sox fight back as the New York team won comfortably 9-3. It was Tanaka’s first outing at Fenway Park but the pitcher wasn’t fazed by the big stage and recorded seven strikeouts.
It was the youngster’s fourth game in the majors and Tanaka made a superb start at the mound, helping the Yankees create a 4-0 lead at the end of the third innings.
He said: “I think I was a little bit pumped up today, just because I know how good their line-up is, and also how small the stadium is, which is something I had in mind is.”
The Yankees starting pitcher then came under fire as the Red Sox artillery retaliated. David Ortiz and Mike Napoli smashed two home runs in the fourth but the Japanese player remained calm and didn’t concede a run for the rest of the game.
Tanaka added: “I try to tell myself, ‘I gave up those runs but no more’, and then just go ahead.”
Tanaka was signed by the Yankees during the off season from Japanese side Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles and made his debut earlier this month. The player has adapted to America with ease with a 3-0 record from his four games with 2.30 ERA and 35 strikeouts.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi was thoroughly impressed by his pitcher despite his age and inexperience in MLB.
Speaking to MLB.com Girardi said: “I think that’s a really good quality for such a young pitcher. Sometimes we forget that he’s only 25-years-old.
“To be able to do that, we’ve seen him do it in every start that he’s had.”
With the Red Sox threatening a turnaround, the Yankees dominated the fifth innings, scoring four more runs and conceding zero to make the game 8-2.
Former Red Sox player Jacoby Ellsbury knocked a two-run double in the fifth against Jon Lester. The 30-year-old claimed two World Series' whilst with Boston but made the switch last December and signed a seven-year $153 million deal.
Ellsbury expected a difficult reception on his first return to Fenway Park after making the switch but was given a divided reception with some fans booing and others cheering their former hero.
A run was scored off of a Brian Roberts liner whilst Derek Jeter was hit by Chris Capuano for a run-scoring single. Carlos Beltan added a homer in the eighth to seal the victory after the Red Sox could only scramble one more run in the final innings.
The result puts the Yankees in a bright 12-8 record whilst the Red Sox are still struggling to repeat their World Series winning form from last year with an 9-12 record.
The two sides with resume battle for the final two games of the three-match series.
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