Mark Teixeira hit a game-tying home run in the seventh inning Sunday night to get Masahiro Tanaka off the hook for a loss, which would have been his first in 32 decisions during the regular-season going back nearly two years, when he pitched in Japan. An inning later, the New York Yankees took advantage of mistakes by the Los Angeles Angels and scored the go-ahead run after a passed ball and a wild pitch in a 3-2 victory at Yankee Stadium.
Tanaka didn't get a decision, but he continued his successful rookie season with 11 strikeouts, including Mike Trout twice, to give him 46 overall. The Elias Sports Bureau reports that only Herb Score, with 50, and Stephen Strasburg, with 48, had more whiffs in the first five major league starts.
Going 31-0 in 39 starts since August 2012 is ridiculous, but Tanaka's streak, while awesome, impressive and all of the other adjectives, contains a nugget of truth that removes a little bit of his invincibility: Tanaka actually lost Game 6 of the Japan Series in 2013. He rebounded to get the save in Game 7, but the sting of losing isn't that ancient to him.
KERSHAW NOT READY:
The Los Angeles Dodgers are taking it slow with ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw, sending him out for a second rehab start in the minor leagues. The Los Angeles Times reports that Kershaw would like to make his next start in the major leagues with the big boys. Please? No dice; the Dodgers aren't messing with a guy who has a sore back:
And don’t think for a moment the competitive Kershaw was happy about it.
“Not really, but I did the best I could,” Kershaw said. “But I’m not going to fight the team if everybody doesn’t want me to do something. It’s what they want me to do.”
Kershaw has made one rehab start since going on the disabled list because of a strained upper back muscle March 30. He went five innings Friday for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, allowing one fifth-inning run and throwing 56 pitches.
INTESTINAL FORTITUDE: A.J. Burnett of the Phillies has an 0.83 ERA in three starts since finding out he has an inguinal hernia for which he's putting off having surgery until after the season. Burnett shut down the Diamondbacks over eight innings, striking out seven and allowing two hits in a 2-0 victory. He out-pitched Brandon McCarthy, who struck out a career-high 12 in seven innings.
Burnett said his sinker and curve were working so well, he threw only one changeup all day.
Burnett's catcher, Wil Nieves, said the prospect of needing surgery for his hernia is "keeping him humble. Instead of trying to throw hard, he's throwing free and easy."
WALK-OFF HOMER RUINS INDIANS' WEEKEND AT SAN FRANCISCO: With runners at first and second and two outs in the ninth inning, most of Cory Allen's responsibility was keeping Brandon Hicks in the ballpark. It didn't happen. Hicks unloaded for a game-ending three-run home run, giving the San Francisco Giants a 4-1 victory against the Cleveland Indians. It's not often the Indians get to AT&T Park, and getting swept in a three-game set won't encourage them to return any time soon.
Allen allowed his first run in 12 games. Via the Associated Press:
''I was not trying to elevate a fastball,'' Allen said. ''I was trying to throw a good fastball down and way. It was already a bad count and he was probably looking for it. He got a pitch out over the plate and put the barrel to it.''
The Indians had not been swept anywhere since August.
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