Yanks give Tanaka a win in Major League debut

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Apr 05 2014 03:32 PM | Updated as of Apr 05 2014 11:32 PM

TORONTO - Masahiro Tanaka made a shaky start to his first Major League season, but settled down to pitch seven solid innings in the New York Yankees' 7-3 win over Toronto.

Toronto leadoff hitter and former Yankee Melky Cabrera belted Tanaka's third pitch of the night over the right centerfield wall for a home run.

By the end of the second inning of Friday's contest, the Blue Jays had taken a 3-2 lead -- erasing a two-run advantage that the Yankees had given Tanaka in the top of the first frame.

Japan's Tanaka, who was signed in the offseason to a seven-year, $155 million (112m euros) contract after starring in Japan for the Rakuten Golden Eagles, gave up six hits and three runs -- two earned -- and struck out eight without walking a batter in his highly anticipated regular-season debut.

The 25-year-old right hander arrived Stateside after a brilliant 24-0 season with a 1.27 earned run average and 183 strike-outs last year for Rakuten.

"I thought he settled down great," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "The first couple of innings were a little rough. He give sup a lead-off home run and then settles down in that inning, then gives up two runs in the next inning.

"Then to give us seven innings and be under 100 pitches -- he did a really, really good job."

On Friday, Tanaka threw 65 of his 97 pitches for strikes as he notched the 100th professional win of his career.

Tanaka finished strong, retiring the final 14 batters he faced.

"I just got aggressive," he said. "I went for strike one, and that was the difference."

Yangervis Solarte drove in three runs for the Yankees, whose joy in victory was tempered by dismay at an injury to first baseman Mark Teixeira.

Teixeira left the game in the second inning with a strained right hamstring, and the severity of the injury was not immediately known.

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