Tanaka shaky early, but bears down and leads the way as Yankees win fifth straight game

On a beautiful Friday night in the Bronx, the New York Yankees came with a 5-4 record and winners of four straight. Pitching has been the story during this four-game stretch as the ERA has gone from a 4.61 over the Yankees first five games, to a solid 2.00 ERA over the last four games. The offense has also been improving, averaging six and a half runs a game while hitting for a .256 average. Aaron Judge has been worth the price of admission and Chase Headley has started the season hot. The Yankees are off to a decent start after a slow beginning in Tampa Bay, and if this young team is to be in contention come September, the Yankees can ill afford to fall behind as they did last season.
Photo Credit: Adam Hunger | USA TODAY Sports

Coming off two sub-par starts in which Masahiro Tanaka gave up seven runs in less than three innings at Tampa, and three runs over five innings in Baltimore, the Yankees needed Tanaka to give them some innings and consistency. After giving up two runs in the first inning, the Yankees had their starter's back, scoring two runs of their own. Tanaka would go on to pitch 6 1/3 innings giving up three runs. Tanaka found his groove after that first inning retiring ten batters in a row, until he found trouble during the seventh inning. Luckily for Tanaka and the Yankees, Tyler Clippard was able to come in and avoid the disastrous inning.

With Gary Sanchez down, and a few other Yankees nursing injuries the team needs everyone to step up. Most scouts around baseball will tell you that when Starlin Castro starts to get hot, the home runs will come in bunches. Tonight, Castro had an opposite field home run that brought the Yankees back to even after the two-run blast by Matt Carpenter in the first inning.
Photo Credit: Frank Franklin II | AP
Later, Austin Romine was able to show the Yankees that he has what it takes to fill the shoes left by Sanchez. Romine hit a solo shot in the bottom of the second, and had another base hit capping off a solid night behind the plate. The man, the myth, Chase Headley was able to stay hot with two base hits, one which brought in Jacoby Ellsbury in the bottom of the fifth due to a throwing error from Kolten Wong. Throw in a walk and stolen base, and we can all say what a difference a year makes for Headley. The Cardinals threatened at the top of the seventh, with a double by Randal Grichuk, which brought the score to 4-3, but tonight belonged to the Bombers as Clippard worked out of a jam.

The Yankees stayed course, and closed this one out using the two fireballs out of the bullpen. Dellin Betances pitched a scoreless eighth, walking one but striking out the side. Then, the Cuban Missile came in during the top of the ninth inning and gave the entire stadium a scare as he walked Randal Grichuk, and gave up a double to Jose Martinez. With runners on second and third Chapman fired in a 102 mph fastball to get Dexter Fowler to ground out, and end, what was a very entertaining game. That makes five in a row for the Yankees (6-4) as they look to keep this streak rolling.

Tomorrow, the New York Yankees will aim to take the series against the St. Louis Cardinals, at 1:05 PM ET. CC Sabathia (1-0, 1.64 ERA) will be looking for his second win of the season and another solid start following his six inning, two run performance in Baltimore. Meanwhile, Carlos Martinez (0-1, 3.65 ERA) is still looking for his first win on the season. It will be the young right-hander's first start in Yankee Stadium.

Winning pitcher: Masahiro Tanaka (1-1, 8.36 ERA): 6.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HR
Losing pitcher: Michael Wacha (1-1, 3.00 ERA): 6.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 8 K, 2 HR
Save (if necessary): Aroldis Chapman (3)
Matt Carpenter: 1-3, HR (1), 2 RBI, R
Starlin Castro: 2-4, HR (2), 2 RBI, R
Matt Holliday: 0-4, 3 K
Chase Headley: 2-3, BB, K, SB (2)
Austin Romine: 2-4, HR (1), RBI
Jacoby Ellsbury: 2-4, R, SB (3), R

Article by: Randy Hancock


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