8:05 PM ET, May 20, 2014
Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois
Masahiro Tanaka handed first major league loss as Cubs top Yankees
Tanaka's Unbeaten Streak Comes To An End
CHICAGO -- All Masahiro Tanaka could do was put this one behind him and look forward to his next start. He'll be hard-pressed to match an unbeaten streak like this, though.
The Cubs honored the retiring Derek Jeter before the game, then handed Tanaka his first loss in nine major league starts.
It was a surprising turn, considering Chicago came in with the majors' worst record and the right-hander from Japan had been sensational.
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Jason Hammel outpitched Masahiro Tanaka on Tuesday, well aware that Tanaka was the Cubs' first choice as a free-agent signing this past offseason, Jesse Rogers writes. Blog
What stood out about Masahiro Tanaka's post-loss media session is the trait that he's led with since he arrived in the U.S.: His demeanor seemed unfazed, Andrew Marchand writes. Blog
Tanaka (6-1) had been 34-0 in Japan and North America the last two seasons. He did drop Game 6 of the Japan Series last year before earning the save in Game 7. But postseason aside, he hadn't lost since the Seibu Lions beat the Rakuten Golden Eagles on Aug. 19, 2012. And yes, he was definitely proud of that streak.
"I think I was able to get the streak going because I had support from my teammates," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "I'm a little bit disappointed because I think a lot of the fans were looking for me to keep on winning. Next time out, I'll try to get a win again and get it going again."
Mike Olt drove in three. Jason Hammel (5-2) pitched solid ball into the sixth and Hector Rondon retired Jeter on a grounder with the bases loaded in the ninth, preserving the win on a hot and rainy night with thunder and lightning.
Tanaka had his worst outing, allowing eight hits to match a career high. He struck out seven and walked one but didn't really have his usual command.
Manager Joe Girardi noticed some splitters up in the zone. Tanaka said there were issues with all his pitches, and Chicago's Starlin Castro thought there was a dip in velocity from last month's meeting in New York, when he threw eight scoreless innings.
Some Cubs players thought familiarity this time around helped, although Girardi dismissed that idea.
"If he has his good splitter tonight I think he gives a much better performance," he said. "Since it's the first time that he saw a team twice and they scored four runs, people are probably going to make a big deal out of it, but I think he's given up four runs before in a start. So I wouldn't make too much of it."
Coming off his first major-league shutout against the Mets last week, Tanaka gave up RBI singles to Emilio Bonifacio in the third and to Olt in the fourth to make it 2-0. The Cubs added to their lead with two in the sixth on back-to-back sacrifice flies by Olt and Baker after Mark Teixeira singled in a run in the top half for New York.
That was enough for Hammel, who allowed one run and four hits in 5 2/3 innings while striking out six and walking one.
The righty took a hard one-hopper to his pitching hand while deflecting Brett Gardner's single to start the game, then threw his first warmup pitch to the backstop after that. He also hit a batter and threw a wild pitch in the inning but settled down after despite some mounting soreness.
"It got a little worse as the game was going on," he said.
The Cubs saluted Jeter before the game, with Castro presenting him a number 2 from the famed Wrigley Field scoreboard at home plate as the crowd cheered. And there was a loud ovation when the Yankees' captain batted in the first.
Former Cub Soriano also got a warm welcome in his first game at Wrigley Field since the Cubs traded him to New York last July. He was 0-for-4.
Asked if there's any chance he'll play after this season, Soriano said, "Yeah, I feel good." He plans to keep playing if he feels this way at the end of the season. He's in the final year of an eight-year deal he signed with Chicago before the 2007 season. ... The Yankees won't have to leave town after this two-game series wraps up, with a four-game set at the White Sox opening Thursday. ... Cubs manager Rick Renteria said OF Justin Ruggiano is close to returning from a strained left hamstring but didn't give a specific date. He also said reliever Pedro Strop is "coming along" as he recovers from a strained left groin.
CHICAGO, IL - MAY 20: Chicago Cubs fans arrive for the game against the New York Yankees at Wrigley Field on May...(Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)
Regular Season Series
|3rd||E Bonifacio singled to center, J Baker scored.||0||1|
|4th||M Olt singled to left, L Valbuena scored.||0||2|
|6th||M Teixeira singled to center, B Gardner scored.||1||2|
|6th||M Olt hit sacrifice fly to left, L Valbuena scored, N Schierholtz to third on throwing error by first baseman M Teixeira.||1||3|
|6th||J Baker hit sacrifice fly to center, N Schierholtz scored.||1||4|
|7th||S Castro singled to center, E Bonifacio scored, A Rizzo to second.||1||5|
|7th||M Olt walked, A Rizzo scored, L Valbuena to third, N Schierholtz to second.||1||6|
|View complete Play-By-Play|
|Stadium||Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL|
|Attendance||38,753 (94.5% full) - % is based on regular season capacity|
|Weather||84 degrees, partly cloudy|
|Umpires||Home Plate - Lance Barrett, First Base - Dana DeMuth, Second Base - Ron Kulpa, Third Base - Ed Hickox|
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