We're over a week into May, and Yangervis Solarte is the Yankees' team-leader in RBIs. One of the team's low-key offseason pick-ups has turned into one of the biggest.
Solarte and another big offseason signing, Masahiro Tanaka, put their talents together on Friday night to help the Yankees defeat the Milwaukee Brewers, 5-2, in the opener of a three-game set this weekend at Miller Park.
Solarte hit a three-run homerun in the 3rd inning to put the Yankees ahead, giving them a lead that Tanaka and the bullpen would not give up, as Tanaka would capture his fifth win of the season, staying undefeated in his Major League career.
Tanaka opened up the game pitching pretty well. He issued a lead-off walk to start the bottom of the 1st inning, but stranded the runner without any harm. He was cruising along nicely through the first five innings before running into a troubling road block in the 6th.
Carlos Gomez and Scooter Gennett opened up the frame with back-to-back doubles, putting the Brewers on the board, cutting the Yankees' lead to 4-1. Jonathan Lucroy followed with a single into center field to score Gennett from second base. But Tanaka battled through it, and got a double play and strikeout to end the inning.
Tanaka would exit in the 7th after putting runners on the corners with one-out. Adam Warren came in and only had to face one batter, getting a strike 'em out, throw 'em out on Lyle Overbay at the plate, and Logan Schafer trying to steal second base.
Tanaka went 6.1 inning, giving up two runs on seven hits, while walking one and striking out seven. He has not lost a game in his last 41 starts, going back to his days in Japan.
Without the four-run 4th inning that the Yankees' offense put together, Tanaka might not have been in the position to get the win.
Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo walked Carlos Beltran to open the inning, and after a Derek Jeter pop-out, Brian McCann singed to put two-on with one-out for Solarte, who then took Gallardo deep to right-field for his second homerun of the season, putting the Yankees up 3-0.
A couple batters later, after Brett Gardner reached on an infield base hit, Brian Roberts doubled down the right field line, letting Gardner motor his way around the bases to score.
Mark Teixeira put the Yankees back up by three runs in the 8th inning on an RBI groundout, making it a 5-2 game. And then in the 9th, Reynolds, the former Yankee, took David Robertson deep with a solo homerun, once again making it a two-run game. But that was all the Brewers would get in the inning, because Robertson struck out the other three batters he faced to end the game.
At the plate, Tanaka went 0-for-3 with a trio of strikeouts. He actually looked like a hitter up there, but barely did any swinging.
This series continues tonight at 7:10 pm ET, with CC Sabathia on the mound for the Bombers, facing his old team, who he pitched for in 2008. Milwaukee will be sending Kyle Lohse to the hill.