Masahiro Tanaka tamed the highest-scoring team in the majors and the New York Yankees stopped a four-game skid, beating Oakland 2-1 Thursday and ending the Athletics’ five-game winning streak.
Facing the A’s for the first time, Tanaka (9-1) got an early jolt when John Jaso homered as the second batter in the game. But that was the only run Tanaka allowed in six innings, and he left with an AL-leading 2.02 ERA.
David Robertson worked the ninth for his 13th save in 15 chances, helped by a lucky bounce.
Stephen Vogt singled with one out and pinch-runner Craig Gentry stole second. Alberto Callaspo followed with a hard grounder that deflected off Robertson’s leg, and first baseman Mark Teixeira corralled the carom and flipped to the pitcher covering the bag for an out. Pinch-hitter Derek Norris looked at strike three for the final out.
Shortly after he was inserted for speed and defense, Yankees right fielder Ichiro Suzuki blunted Oakland’s bid to tie it in the eighth with a sliding catch on Brandon Moss’ liner into the gap with runners on first and second. After a wild pitch, Adam Warren struck out Yoenis Cespedes to end the inning.
Brett Gardner hit a leadoff homer in the third against Drew Pomeranz (5-3) for a 2-1 lead.
Jacoby Ellsbury almost hit a two-run homer for the Yankees. After Derek Jeter singled in the first, Ellsbury hit a drive to the top of the right-field wall, hustled around the bases and slid into second.
The umpires, however, ruled it a home run and Ellsbury got up and trotted to the plate and into the dugout. A’s manager Bob Melvin challenged the call and it was overturned to a double.
Carlos Beltran then struck out to finish the inning. On the disabled list since May 15 because of a bone spur in his right elbow, Beltran was activated and went 0 for 3.
Tanaka gave up five hits, struck out four and walked one. He retired 10 straight batters after Jaso’s homers and left several A’s taking tentative swings.
As Tanaka has demonstrated during his first 12 starts in the majors – at least six innings with three or fewer earned runs, all of them – he toughens up when there’s trouble. The Japanese rookie twice escaped two-out, two-on jams, and threw 104 pitches overall.
Alfonso Soriano broke an 0-for-16 slump with an RBI single in the second, set up when Brian McCann singled and continued to second as the ball skipped past Moss in left field for an error.
Soriano later wound up with a gift double when center fielder Coco Crisp lost a routine fly in a bright sun.
Pomeranz pitched a season-high seven innings, giving up six hits and one earned run.
NOTES: New York went 2-6 on its homestand vs. Minnesota, Seattle and Oakland. … The A’s have homered in 13 straight games, connecting 23 times in that span. … Tanaka had gone five starts without allowing a homer. … Cespedes was Oakland’s DH. Melvin gave the star OF a lighter day after hitting 2 HRs Wednesday night. Melvin also said Cespedes was working through some shoulder issue. … Crisp returned to the lineup after getting a day off to rest his ailing neck. … RF Vogt made a nice catch in his first major league start in the outfield. He’s normally a catcher, and Melvin said he wanted another lefty bat vs. Tanaka. … Seven veterans of the D-Day invasion were honored at home plate before the game. … There was a pregame moment of silence for former Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer, who died Wednesday at 83. A video tribute before the third inning drew cheers. … Oakland LHP Tommy Milone (3-3, 3.60) starts Friday night at Baltimore vs. LHP Wei-Yin Chen (6-2, 4.26). … Yankees rookie RHP Chase Whitley (0-0, 2.37) starts Friday night at Kansas City vs. RHP Jeremy Guthrie (2-5, 4.00).
Updated June 5, 2014