The day didn’t start out too well for both the New York Yankees and their starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, but he settled in gradually, helping out on an excellent offensive display mostly from Ichiro Suzuki and Jacoby Ellsbury, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 7-3.
Tanaka gave up a home run against the first batter he faced, former Yankees player Melky Cabrera. However, that was Cabrera’s only hit of the game, and the Yankees, who opened strong with two runs in the first inning, quickly regained the lead after the Blue Jays went 3-2 up.
Ellsbury, who has had a rough time in the opening series for the Yankees, was 3-for-4 and scored two runs, getting home in the 1st off a Carlos Beltran single and then again in the 5th off a Brian McCan double RBI single.
Ichiro was efficient as well with 3-of-5 when at the plate, getting two runs in as well. The Yankees hounded Dustin McGowan, who didn’t make it even into the fourth inning. He gave up 8 hits and four runs in only 2.2 innings. Those who came after him didn’t do much better, all allowing at least one hit.
Tanaka finished his day after seven innings of pitching, allowing six hits and three runs. David Robertson finished the day with a strong inning, as the relief pitchers avoided any complications, while the offense finished with an impressive 16-for-40 at the plate.
The Yankees took the lead in the first with a Beltran single that Ellsbury scored off, and were 2-0 up by the end of it after Mark Teixeira helped out Brett Gardner with another single. The Blue Jays came back with that Cabrera home run, but took a 3-2 lead Jonathan Diaz helped Dioner Navarro and Brett Lawrie score. But that was pretty much it for the Blue Jays, as Tanaka started pitching like the guys the Yankees expected to see when they signed him for seven years on a $155 million contract.
Yangervis Solarte brought the Yankees the lead back in the third as the McGown pummeling continued. Ichiro Suzkui benefited from a replay review that changed the initial call on the field (out) after some Joe Girardi arguing, which was followed by Solarte hitting a double which scored both Suzuki and Brian Roberts, who came on for Teixeira after he strained his hamstring. Solarte finished the game with 3 RBIs, moving up to four this season, and has started out batting .500, with him and Ichiro Suzuki (.556 so far) showing a great deal of consistency through the 2-2 start.
A turning point for the Yankees? Something like that. Not just Tanaka getting rid of a game he was visibly nervous in, but Ellsbury finally looking like the guy the Yankees signed from the Red Sox in the offseason. Teixeira leaving hinders that progress a bit, but it seems that after two disappointing games to start the season with, the bats are beginning to work as expected.
(On Tanaka): He did a really good job of controlling his emotions and finding himself after the first couple of innings. He was able to fix his mistakes early on and that’s the sign of a mature pitcher. (On Ellsbury) He did everything tonight. He hit, stole bases, made a great catch in centerfield. That’s why we went and got him, because that’s what he capable of doing. He’s a game-changer.