After Yankees took a 5-1 lead, the Rangers scored ten unanswered runs against Masahiro Tanaka and the bullpen to take the first game of the series. Early on, it seemed like the Yankees could win this game in a laugher but it totally turned around. Tanaka unraveled, the bullpen bled out more runs and the offense stopped hitting. Not a good formula.
The upward spiral
In the top of the second, against Martin Perez, the Yankees got a rally going. Matt Holliday reached with a single to lead off. Didi Gregorius hit a grounder to second that should have been turned as a GIDP but Rougned Odor’s throw to second pulled Elvis Andrus off the bag and both runners were safe. Chase Headley squared a single to right field to load the bases with no out. Jacoby Ellsbury, who’s been on fire lately, lined an RBI single to score Holliday to give Yankees a lead. Perez hit Todd Frazier on his second pitch to push another run across. Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge struck out back-to-back to alleviate things for Perez but Gary Sanchez hit a 2-run single to tack on more runs. 4-0 Yankees.
The Rangers got one back on the next frame. Leading off the inning, Nomar Mazara simply crushed – I mean 453 feet crushed – a solo homer to make it a three-run lead for New York. However, Gregorius added a run by hitting a solo homer into the right field seats – 5-1 Yankees. With the offense clicking so far and Tanaka looking solid, it should be a walk in the park for the Bombers, right? Nope. That’s why you play the game…
The downward spiral
Texas added more runs in the bottom of the third. Robinson Chirinos singled past Didi with one out and Delino DeShields Jr. followed it up with a double down the third base line to for an RBI. After a Shi-Soo Choo flyout, Andrus added an RBI double of his own to make it 5-3. All of sudden, the 5-1 early lead looked awful shaky.
The Rangers struck big time in the bottom of the fifth. Odor started it off with a single and Chirinos hit a doubled past Frazier to drive him in. 5-4. DeShields followed it up with a single to left to put the runners on corners with no outs. Facing Choo, Tanaka threw a wild pitch past Sanchez and it became a tie game. Things even got worse as Choo hit a flyball towards the deep left part of the ballpark and the ball bounced off Gardner’s glove. Ideally, Gardner would’ve made the catch, but it was not an easy one to get to in the first place.
That double by Choo would have scored DeShields had he not been held up. As a result, Tanaka left the game with two runners on scoring position with no outs. As Tommy Kahnle allowed the remaining two runners to score with an Andrus single, seven earned runs were charged to Tanaka’s final line – 4.0 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, 1 HR, 7 K. His ERA rose to 4.82 and it was easily his worst start in awhile. Pitchers are allowed to have stinkers once in awhile. Right now, it’s just not an ideal timing with the Yankees trying to chase the Red Sox in the AL East standings.
Rangers threatened once again in the bottom of the seventh. Caleb Smith started the inning and allowed a base hit to Choo and a walk to Andrus. Mazara hit a big liner that hit the right field wall that should have drove a run in. However, Choo misjudged the fly and ended up third instead of home. With no out and bases loaded, Joe Girardi put in Ben Heller to remedy the situation. And it, uh, didn’t go well. Here’s how the rest of the inning went.
7-5 to 11-5 just like that. Ugly. And that’s how the score remained for good.
After Kahnle and Chasen Shreve, Girardi pretty much ran out the B-side portion of the ‘pen tonight – Heller, Smith and Bryan Mitchell. The three relievers combined for 2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB and 2 K’s. The silver lining of this was that Mitchell looked pretty decent (1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 K) but Smith and Heller didn’t really inspire confidence.
Sanchez was back in the lineup after serving the 3-game suspension and did not seem to miss a beat, going 2-for-3 with a walk. He scorched the two base hits and the out that he made was a line out that went right towards 3B Joey Gallo.
Box score, video highlights, updated standings and WPA
The Yankees will have their staff ace Luis Severino on the mound to try to start a winning streak going on. The Rangers will have Andrew Cashner up. It’ll be a 1:05 pm EST start at the Globe Life Park in Arlington.