Tanaka escapes jams in third start of spring


The New York Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka allowed a run in 4⅓-innings Sunday in a 7-4 preseason win against the Atlanta Braves.

Pitching in his third preseason game and making his second start, Tanaka escaped with just one run on three hits despite control issues that saw him regularly fall behind hitters and allow his first two walks of the preseason. He struck out six batters, four coming with a runner in scoring position.

“Things started off OK, but little by little my balance got worse as the game went on,” said Tanaka, who allowed his only run on a double after two were down in the fourth.

“I got two easy outs before issuing a walk and giving up the extra-base hit. Had I stayed calmer out there and not gotten out of control, the results would have been different.”

He escaped a one-out scoring opportunity in the first inning with back-to-back strikeouts, although he was fortunate to end the inning on a called third strike when Jason Upton looked at a hanging 3-2 split-fingered fastball up in the zone.

Tanaka recorded a 1-2-3 second inning, thanks to a superb play by first baseman Mark Teixeira on a foul pop, but was once more lucky to escape unscathed in the third.

Andrelton Simmons just got under a 3-2 slider and drove it to the warning track in left to open the inning with a fly out, but the Braves got a runner when Tyler Greene laid down a masterful bunt down the third-base line that refused to roll foul. Another full count and a walk put runners on first and second, but once more Tanaka got out of trouble with a pair of strikeouts.

The Braves got to him in the fourth on a two-out walk and a double by minor leaguer Tommy La Stella, who stayed on a high 3-2 fastball away and bounced it off the top of the wall in left.

Tanaka faced one batter in the fifth before leaving with the game tied 1-1 after throwing 74 pitches.

“I’ve got a lot of things that need work and I want to take care of as many of them as I can before (the start of the season),” Tanaka said. “It was good to get that many pitches under my belt. I also felt the command on my slider was very good and I was able to get strikes with it.”

Ichiro Suzuki put the Yankees on the board in the bottom of the second inning with an RBI single off Braves right-hander Julio Teheran. It was his second hit of the game after a leadoff double in the first. He went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.

Darvish continues work

Surprise Arizona AP

Yu Darvish pitched into the fifth inning and catcher J.P. Arencibia hit a grand slam, leading the Texas Rangers to a 14-8 spring win against the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.

Darvish, who will start the Rangers’ March 31 opener against Philadelphia, gave up two runs and four hits in 4⅔ innings. He struck out three and walked three.

“It wasn’t very good, but I was able to grind out,” Darvish said through an interpreter. “I was working on my fastball and also my two-seam and because I threw too many of my cut fastball, I wasn’t able to get a lot of strikes.”

Adrian Nieto’s two-run single with two out in the fourth was the only damage off Darvish.

“You can see that’s how good he is,” Arencibia said. “If he’s out there working on some things and still being able to dominate games. I think he’s right where he needs to be and hope will continually to get better.”