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I thought the stars were aligned for a big time Masahiro Tanaka outing last night. Between his nasty stuff, the Brewers' lack of experience seeing him, and their tendency to be free swingers at times, another double digit strikeout performance was more than in play. It didn't up being quite as stellar as I hoped for, but he was still good enough to win and kept his year-plus winning streak alive with a well-deserved victory.
- Early on it looked like he might toss a complete game shutout. He walked Carlos Gomez to start the bottom of the 1st and then promptly retired the next 8 batters he faced. Through 4, he gave up only 2 singles and struck out 4.
- Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo was up to the task of matching Tanaka early. He held the Yankees scoreless the first time through the order with only a walk and a Jacoby Ellsbury base hit against him.
- Things started to unravel for Gallardo in the 4th, after he had to throw almost 50 pitches to get through the first 3. A Carlos Beltran leadoff walk and a Brian McCann single put 2 runners on with 1 out. Gallardo left a first-pitch slider out over the plate and Yangervis Solarte smacked it into the right field bleachers for a 3-run homer and a 3-0 Yankee lead. A Brett Gardner single and a Brian Roberts double to right made it 4-0.
- Tanaka kept cruising into the 6th, when a pair of back-to-back doubles finally got the Brewers on the board. Jonathan Lucroy singled past Derek Jeter's rotting corpse to pull within 2, but an Aramis Ramirez double play ball and another K ended the threat.
- The Yanks got a pretty big insurance run in the 8th thanks to a leadoff double by Beltran. Ichiro pinch ran for him, stole third base, and scored on a Mark Teixeira groundout.
- Adam Warren replaced Tanaka with 2 on and 1 out in the 7th and got another clutch double play to snuff out a potential Brewer rally. He handled the 8th as well and D-Rob sandwiched a Mark Reynolds solo shot between 3 strikeouts for the save.
- Solarte: 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 LOB. The home run was a no-doubter, and he had another hit taken away from him by Jean Segura in his last at-bat.
- Tanaka: 6.1 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. His line was plenty good but it should have been better. At least 3 of the hits off him were GBs that got by Jeter and (homer alert) I thought there were a few strike calls on the corner that he should have gotten to get strikeouts. The ump's strike zone seemed to change for both teams every half-inning.
- Jeter: 0-4, 1 K, 1 LOB. Look older out there, Derek. All 3 of his groundouts were weak tappers. Defensively he was a statue, failing to get balls hit to the left and right of him and throwing a ball into the ground on a close play at first that gave Segura a single in the 7th.
Second game of this series is tonight and it's a pair of veterans on the mound in CC Sabathia and Kyle Lohse.