Masahiro Tanaka bounced back very well from his first loss of the season as he only allowed one earned run on five hits in 6.2 innings pitched in the 7-1 Yankees win in the series finale against the Chicago White Sox. Tanaka’s effective splitter and slider helped him strike out six and earn his seventh win of the season.
Tanaka was aware that he had to make some adjustments to improve on his last start. “I wanted the ball to go down, that is why I made some tweaks to my mechanics,” Tanaka said.
The Yankees split their six games in the Windy City. They had to win their previous two games to do so, and they broke their streak of winning their previous three games by only one run. It was a good sign that the offense produced 10 hits and that Tanaka was able to go deep in the game once again to give the bullpen a break.
Tanaka has now pitched at least six innings in every start this season and every start has been a quality start (six innings and three runs or less). He has struck out at least five batters in every start and has struck out at least seven hitters in eight of his 10 starts. He has an outstanding ratio of 79 strikeouts to only 10 walks in his rookie season.
The Yankees scored seven runs even though their 3-5 hitters went a combined 0-11 in the game. They got contributions offensively from everyone else as Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian Roberts all drove in runs and six different players scored runs. The wind appeared to help Roberts hit his second homer of the season in the eighth, and Alfonso Soriano had his first multi-hit game (2) since May 17, but the offensive star of the game was Jeter.
The Captain had four hits in five at-bats in his final game at U.S. Cellular Field. He had three singles and his first triple of the season. His four hits raised his average from .259 to .275. Jeter hit his stand up triple to deep right center past a diving Adam Eaton. He would score on a Andre Rienzo wild pitch to make the score 5-0 in the fourth. Rienzo allowed 54 pitches through two innings, which signaled that it would be a long afternoon for the White Sox.
“Everybody contributed, and it was nice to see,” Girardi said after the game.
If Jeter collects 74 more hits the rest of the season, which is realistic, he will finish in sixth place in the all-time hits list behind only Tris Speaker, Stan Musial, Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb and Pete Rose.
Before the game, the White Sox gave gifts to Jeter just like every team is doing after Jeter plays his last game in their stadium. He received dirt from the old Comiskey Field, a bench made of baseball bats that honored other Yankees legends and a $5,000 check for his Turn 2 Foundation.
Conor Gillaspie’s single that drove in Tyler Flowers in the sixth was the only run the Yankees allowed. Adam Warren and Matt Daley pitched the final 2.1 innings and they both continued to be reliable options out of the bullpen. Daley hasn’t allowed a run in his last seven appearances and Warren lowered his ERA to an impressive 1.55.
The Yankees will travel south to St. Louis and start a three-game series against the Cardinals on Memorial Day. The game will start at 4:05 p.m. EST and will be televised on ESPN.
Chase Whitley, who allowed one earned run in his first two starts, will pitch for the Yankees as they try for their third consecutive win. Michael Wacha, who is 12th in the National League in ERA and 6th in strikeouts, will get the start for the Cardinals.