NEW YORK – Masahiro Tanaka allowed three runs in six-plus innings to earn his eighth win, and the New York Yankees turned the game into a rout after he left, beating the Boston Red Sox 13-3 on Tuesday.
Before 48,522 at Yankee Stadium, Tanaka (8-4) was razor sharp at the start and was given an early lead against big league debutant Henry Owens. Tanaka allowed five hits and a walk, while striking out three in an 88-pitch effort.
“The important thing is that the team won,” Tanaka said. “I won but I have issues to address. I got more than I deserved (with the win).
After struggling mightily to locate his splitter in his previous start, Tanaka called his accuracy of his chief weapon “passable.” With home plate umpire Mike Everitt calling every low strike, Tanaka was consistently ahead in counts and had little trouble through four innings. In the fifth, trouble found him in the form of a bad split-fingered fastball and a series of good at-bats from the Red Sox.
Mike Napoli smoked a hanging 2-1 splitter for a one-out double, and Alejandro De Aza followed with a beautiful bunt single. Blake Swihart tied it with a good swing, swatting a back-door slider to left field for a single. The visitors moved in front when Tanaka supplied a high 3-2 fastball that was made to order for a sacrifice fly — that Jackie Bradley Jr. delivered.
Tanaka looked to be in more danger in the sixth, when he walked David Ortiz with one out. Hanley Ramirez lined a 2-1 slider on the hands back to Tanaka, who caught it and bailed himself out by doubling off Ortiz to escape the inning.
The Yankees knocked Owen out in the bottom of the sixth. Chris Young’s second singleof the game opened the flood gates and an Alex Rodriguez double sent Owens packing. Reliever Robbie Ross Jr., however, gave up back-to-back RBI hits to Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann. The Yankeesthen made it 4-2 on an RBI groundout by Carlos Beltran.
Tanaka was gone in the seventh inning just seconds after missing with his eighth pitch to Pablo Sandoval, who blasted it deep into the right-field bleachers for a leadoff homer that made it 4-3. Yankees skipper Joe Girardi was out of the dugout in a flash and Tanaka was done.
“I thought he pitched a pretty good ballgame. He just a left a couple of pitches up,” Girardi said. “I said, ‘That was it,’ and the next hitter, Napoli, has had a ton of success against him.”
With Sandoval having fouled off pitch after pitch, Tanaka shook off McCann’s sign for a 1-2 breaking ball, but regretted the fastball he ended up throwing.
“You know there were other pitches I could have thrown,” Tanaka said. “I’m lacking technique.”
Neither Junichi Tazawa nor Koji Uehara pitched for the Red Sox.
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