Tanaka takes mound in finale with Tigers

(SportsNetwork.com) – Masahiro Tanaka shoots for a third straight win when he
leads the New York Yankees into the finale of a four-game series against the
Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.

Tanaka was roughed up in his season debut on April 6 versus Toronto and
yielded five runs — four earned — in four innings of a 6-1 loss. Tanaka
rebounded six days later in a 14-4 drubbing of Boston and lasted five innings,
allowing four runs (3 earned) and four hits.

The Japanese right-hander shined in Saturday’s 9-0 beatdown of Tampa Bay and
delivered seven scoreless innings of two-hit ball. He struck out a season-high
eight batters and did not issue a walk. He walked five batters and fanned 10
in his first two outings.

Tanaka will make his first appearance against the Tigers and hopes to get as
much run support as Adam Warren did in Wednesday’s 13-4 rout of Detroit.

New York scored six runs in the first inning, which was highlighted by
Gregorio Petit’s bases-clearing double. Brian McCann, Chase Headley and Jacoby
Ellsbury each had RBI singles to set the tone early, but the Tigers responded
with four runs in the bottom half.

The Tigers were held off the board the rest of the way and starting pitcher
David Price lasted only 2 1/3 innings, charged with eight runs and 10 hits.

“As well as he’s pitched against us, yeah, it is kind of strange,” Yankees
manager Joe Girardi said. “The last time we faced him, we didn’t really hit
him too hard. We had a bunch of ground balls that went through the hole, and
we had some things really go our way. We were swinging the bats good tonight.”

Warren benefited from the deluge of runs and hits, and was touched for four
runs in 5 2/3 innings. New York had a 15-6 advantage in hits.

Mark Teixeira hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning, while Headley and
Didi Gregorius drove in two runs apiece. Young ended 3-for-6 with a pair of
runs scored for the Yankees, winners in two straight, five of six and seven of
the last 10 games.

The Yankees are 6-3 on a 10-game road trip and will play the next six games at
home versus the New York Mets and Rays.

Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez has hit 658 career home runs, two shy of tying
Willie Mays’ mark of 660 for fourth place on the all-time list.

Detroit fell to 11-4 on the season and 3-3 on a 10-game stay in Motown.

Yoenis Cespedes had two hits and an RBI in Wednesday’s loss, which featured
some snow showers in late April. Price may have been effected by the wintry
conditions, according to his manager.

“I don’t think he could feel the ball,” skipper Brad Ausmus said.

Price wasn’t pleased with his performance.

“Just didn’t have it,” Price said. “That’s a bad start. It’s not my worst, but
it’s always tough whenever you put your team down six runs in the first inning
before they even get a chance to swing it.”

The Tigers look to put last night’s game in the rearview mirror and will host
the Cleveland Indians for three games this weekend.

Anibal Sanchez was impressive in his season debut for the Tigers, but has
struggled since. He will try to redeem himself Thursday versus the Yankees and
has lost back-to-back starts.

Sanchez pitched 6 2/3 shutout innings and scattered just three hits on April 8
in an 11-0 drubbing of Minnesota. The right-hander then struggled on April 13
in a 5-4 loss at Pittsburgh, touched for five runs and eight hits with nine
strikeouts and no walks.

Things got worse for Sanchez in Saturday’s 12-3 defeat versus the Chicago
White Sox and he allowed nine runs and nine hits in 3 1/3 frames. In three
career starts against the Yankees, Sanchez is 2-1 with a 5.17 ERA.

The Yankees were 4-3 against the Tigers last season.