Heading into the night, the headlines for the Yankees' series opener against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park were all about Jacoby Ellsbury's return and Masahiro Tanaka's Fenway debut. After the game, it's hard to believe that the headlines will be any different.
Tanaka held the Sox to two runs over seven-plus innings, and Ellsbury picked up two hits and a pair of RBIs to help the Yankees defeat the Sox, 9-3, Tuesday night in Boston.
Ellsbury opened the game with a triple off the center field wall. A fan in center reached over the wall in an attempt to hit the game, so it was ruled fan interference, but because of his speed, the umpires awarded Ellsbury with a triple. A couple pitches Jeter, he would come home to score on a single by Derek Jeter, putting the Yankees up 1-0 just four pitches into the game.
After Jeter moved over to second base on a wild pitch by Jon Lester, Carlos Beltran singled him home for the second 1st inning run against Lester.
The Yankees didn't get to Lester again until the 3rd inning, when they tacked up two more runs to double their lead to 4-0, using three straight doubles to open the inning. Alfonso Soriano ripped one to deep center, Mark Teixeira scored him with a double to right field, then Brian McCann made it back-to-back-to-back with a double to left, bringing home Teixeira.
The Red Sox, however, cut the lead in half in the 4th inning by hitting back-to-back solo homeruns off Tanaka. With one out in the frame, David Ortiz blasted one, then Mike Napoli connected on another with a shot over the Monster, making it a 4-2 game.
Those two homeruns were the only blemishes on Tanaka's line, which was pretty good once again, as he twirled 7.1 innings of two-run ball, giving up seven hits, while striking out seven and walking none.
Tanaka has now gone at least seven innings in all four of his starts this season. Four starts is still a small sample size, but it's very, very hard t say that this kid is not special, because he really is one of the best pitchers in the league right now, and will probably compete for the Cy Young award this season.
The Yankees would go on to score five unanswered runs after the two homeruns by the Soz in the 4th, with four coming in the 5th inning to turn a 4-2 game into a 8-2 game.
Lester walked Teixeira and gave up a single to McCann to open the 5th inning, but rebounded to strikeout the next two batters, Yangervis Solarte and Ichiro Suzuki, to set up runners on 1st and 2nd with two outs. Up to the plate came Brian Roberts, who grounded over to first base and reached because of a very costly error by Napoli, scoring Teixeira. The next batter, Ellsbury, then doubled to left-center, plating both runners on base, ending Lester's night.
The lefty only made it through 4.2 innings, giving up eight runs -- three earned -- on 11 hits, while walking four and striking out seven.
Chris Capuano came into the game in relief of Lester and gave up a single to Jeter, scoring Ellsbury for the fourth run of the inning, making it a 8-2 game. Beltran added another run for the Yankees in the 8th inning with a solo homerun, his 5th of the season.
Dellin Betances was the only reliever needed behind Tanaka, as he fired 1.2 innings, giving up a 9th inning run two hits, both doubles, while striking out two. Both strikeouts came in the 8th inning, when he set down Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia to end the inning.
A night after Tanaka, the Red Sox will get their second look at Michael Pineda this season, when the right-hander takes the mound tomorrow night, facing off against John Lackey at 7:05 pm ET.