CHICAGO - The New York Yankees had become quite comfortable playing in front of Masahiro Tanaka, but Tuesday night they discovered their Japanese ace was human after all.
The right-handed pitcher gave up four runs as the Yankees lost 6-1 to the Chicago Cubs, sending Tanaka to his first regular-season loss since August 2012.That dates back to Tanaka's time in Japan's Nippon Professional League when the Seibu Lions beat him.
Tanaka dropped to 6-1 in his first season of Major League Baseball with New York. His 6-0 start is one of the best in history for a Yankee rookie pitcher. Tanaka, who signed a seven-year, $155 million contract with New York in the offseason, struggled Tuesday on a rain-soaked field at Wrigley ball park while getting just one run of support from the Yankee hitters.
"It was pretty wet out there at times, "Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of the conditions. "I don't know if that had anything to do with it. He still didn't pitch that bad. He was just slipping a little bit."Tanaka had gone unbeaten in 42 straight regular-season starts in Japan and North America, posting a 34-0 mark.
This marked Tanaka's second game this season against the Cubs. On April 16, Tanaka struck out 10 batters over eight innings in a 3-0 win against the Cubs. Chicago got to Tanaka for three earned runs and eight hits on Tuesday. Chicago started quickly, scoring a run in the third and another in the fourth to ensure they wouldn't be shut out again.
Preston Claiborne replaced Tanaka to start the bottom of the seventh inning. Tanaka fanned seven batters to raise his season total to 73 strikeouts.