Masahiro Tanaka gave up an early run in the first inning, but the Yankees were able to tag Minnesota Twins starter Kevin Correia for four runs in the 4th inning to help the Yankees take down the Twins, 5-4, Saturday afternoon at Hammond Stadium on Fort Myers, Florida.
In a lineup filled with many minor league and non-roster players, both Zoilo Almonte and Zelous Wheeler picked up two hits in the ball game.
As you would expect, Tanaka was the main story in this game. The Twins were able to get on the board against Tanaka in the first inning after Brian Dozier doubled to open the frame, then back-to-back groundouts moved him over and brought him in to score.
Minnesota got their other two runs off of Tanaka in the 6th inning on a Jason Kubel double and a RBI groundout by Trevor Plouffe.
Tanaka left the game with two outs in the 6th inning after reaching his 90-pitch limit. He gave up three runs on five hits with six strikeouts and one walk on 92 pitches. He was working well with his fastball, painting corners, and was able throwing his off-speed pitches well, as usual.
You would expect that he'll face the Twins at least once this season and for the most part, he got to see all of the hitters that he would likely face in a regular season game with the lineup that Minnesota had on the field today.
Almost of the of the Yankees' regulars were back in Tampa, but the offense was still showed up and did it's job behind Tanaka, picking up five runs on 10 hits. The four-run 4th is where they did most of their damage.
Eduardo Nunez and Kelly Johnson put together back-to-back singles, and then Francisco Cervelli got hit by a pitch to load the bases with only one out. With Scott Sizemore at the plate, Correia threw a wild pitch past Kurt Suzuki to score Nunez from third, moving both Johnson and Cervelli up a base. A couple pitches later, Sizemore singled into right field to score both of the runners on base to gave the Yankees a 3-1 lead.
Later in the inning, Wheeler picked up one of hit two hits with a RBI double to plate Sizemore, extending the Yankees' lead to 4-1.
After the Twins had put up two runs in the 6th to cut the Yankees' lead to one, Roybell Herrera singled into right field to drive in the Bombers' fifth run of the game.
Other than a solo homerun off of Yoshinori Tateyama in the 9th, the Yankees' bullpen did a very good job of shutting down the Twins -- as it's been all spring -- in the final 3.1 innings after Tanaka left the game. Fred Lewis, David Herndon, Shane Greene combined for 2.1 scoreless inning. Greene actually struck out the side in the 8th, and Tateyama also struck out three in the 9th.
The Yankees are back in Tampa tomorrow to face the Toronto Blue Jays at GMS Field. Michael Pineda will be making the start on YES, and you can assume that the Yankees will have a lot of regulars back in the lineup.