MLB Wrap: Tanaka wins 1st start with Yankees

MLB Wrap: Tanaka wins 1st start with Yankees
April 5, 2014, 12:45 am
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Masahiro Tanaka struck out eight and gave up three runs -- two earned -- in his first major league start, a 7-3 Yankees win over the Blues Jays Friday. (USA Today Images)

TORONTO -- Masahiro Tanaka knew the English words to answer a question about the last time he'd been this anxious before a big game.

"Japan Series," Tanaka said, referring to last season's championship in which he saved the clinching seventh game.

Nerves were an issue for Tanaka in the early innings of his major league debut for the New York Yankees, but the right-hander soon settled into his new surroundings. Tanaka pitched seven innings, Jacoby Ellsbury had three hits and the Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-3 on Friday night.

"He did a really good job of controlling his emotions and finding himself after the first couple of innings," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Tanaka. "He was able to fix his mistakes early on and that's the sign of a mature pitcher."

Staked to a 2-0 lead before taking the mound, Tanaka (1-0) got a startling welcome to the major leagues when he surrendered a home run to Toronto's Melky Cabrera on his third pitch. It was Cabrera's first homer of the season and the second leadoff shot of his career (see full recap).

Cabrera homers, Tigers top Orioles
DETROIT -- Miguel Cabrera reached another milestone in powerful fashion: a four-hit day highlighted by a home run for his 2,000th hit.

"I never expected I was going to hit 1,000 hits," the 30-year-old slugger said after the game. "I never expect something personal. I expect to go out there and ... try to find a way to help my teammates."

Cabrera capped his big day with an eighth-inning homer, and the Detroit Tigers rolled to a 10-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Friday. Cabrera's two-run drive made him the ninth player to reach 2,000 hits before turning 31.

"Miguel and I have combined for over 3,000," said Brad Ausmus, the former catcher who is now Detroit's manager. "We're a Hall of Famer, combined."

Rajai Davis and Torii Hunter also homered for the Tigers. Drew Smyly (1-0) relieved Anibal Sanchez after a fourth-inning rain delay and pitched three scoreless innings (see full recap)

Blackmon, Rockies clobber Diamondbacks
DENVER -- So maybe going 6 for 6 isn't quite enough for his manager to award Charlie Blackmon the everyday job in centerfield.

Still, Walt Weiss did promise his platoon outfielder this much: "He'll be in there tomorrow."

That's good enough for Blackmon. He tied a team record with six hits and drove in five runs, helping the Colorado Rockies beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 12-2 in their home opener Friday.

Blackmon had three doubles, a two-run homer and scored four times. The only other Rockies player with six hits in a game was Andres Galarraga against Houston on July 3, 1995 (see full recap).

Overturned HR helps Braves beat Nationals
WASHINGTON -- Atlanta Braves left fielder Justin Upton saw the baseball nestle underneath some green wall padding and initially, instead of trying to make a play, threw his arms up and waited for a call from the umpires.

All the while, Washington's Ian Desmond kept running, making it all the way around the bases for an inside-the-park homer, apparently tying the game in the fifth inning.

Hold on, though.

This is a new era in the majors, where all sorts of plays can be reviewed and changed. So Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez challenged the non-call, and Desmond's home run was switched to a ground-rule double after a five-minute delay. Desmond then got caught stealing, capping a significant sequence Friday in Atlanta's 2-1 victory over Washington (see full recap).

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