Masahiro Tanaka has been the hero for the Yankees in recent matches but was bailed out by his batsmen on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays, in his side’s 9-3 victory.
Jacoby Ellsbury and company came to the pitchers rescue with a nine runs in five innings after the Rays had taken a shock early lead. The pitcher was able to recover and didn’t concede a single run after the fourth.
The Japanese pitcher has taken the MLB by storm in his rookie year after conceding just 2.53 ERA in his 42 and 2/3 innings pitched and has been the star man for the Yankees in the early season form of 16-13. But at the changeover of bats in the fourth innings against the Rays, the Yankees faced a 3-0 deficit and Tanaka was seeing his peerless record being torn apart.
The 25-year-old gave Desmond Jennings a home run to just the second batsman in the first innings. Jennings hit a line-drive while Will Myers got to work with two scores in the second and the fourth.
But the Yankees hitters, who had relied on Tanaka heavily during his five previous starts for the New York outfit, barged their way into the game off Jake Odorizzi’s hapless pitching.
The pitcher completed three perfect innings to begin with but it all fell apart in the space of 10 batters. Yankees dominated with Mark Teixeira scoring a two-run homer and Ellsbury scrambled a ground-rule double to tie up the game in the fifth. The Yankees hitters had finally began to deliver for Tanaka and they turned on the style to make the game safe.
Kelly Johnson homered and the Yankees added a two runs in the seventh and three in the eighth while Tanaka finally found some rhythm to prevent the Rays from scoring.
Tanaka signed for the Yankees during the off-season from Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles and has been a revelation, with an incredible 4-0 record. But on Saturday the pitcher relied on his offence hitters to help him recover as the Yankees continued their positive start to the season.
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