NEW YORK (AP) — Masahiro Tanaka made Adam Jones look silly in his first two at-bats. Still, the All-Star center fielder who is always at the ready with a not-so-safe opinion wasn’t all that impressed by the young Japanese pitcher.
Nick Markakis had an RBI single in the ninth inning against fill-in closer Shawn Kelley, and the Baltimore Orioles rallied for a 5-4 victory Wednesday night over the New York Yankees after wasting a three-run lead against Tanaka.
“We’re not the same hitters he faced over there. We groove, we hack,” said Jones, who struck out twice before getting a single in his three at-bats off Tanaka.
Jonathan Schoop hit a soaring three-run homer off Tanaka in the second inning of the right-hander’s first start at Yankee Stadium but Carlos Beltran and Kelly Johnson connected against Miguel Gonzalez in the bottom of the inning. Alfonso Soriano tied it with a groundout in the fourth.
“He just made a mistake, kept a slider up,” Schoop said. “I tried to make adjustments as he tried to elevate me, and then he made a mistake.”
The Orioles, who managed only seven hits while striking out 10 times against Tananka in seven innings, lined four straight hits to center field off Kelley, pitching the ninth for the second time in place of the injured David Robertson.
Ryan Flaherty and Schoop each lined 0-2 pitches from Kelley (0-1) and Markakis singled in Flaherty and, after Delmon Young got his third hit of the night, Chris Davis made it 5-3 with a sacrifice fly.
“I felt like they did a good job getting the barrel to some good pitches,” Kelly said. “If I bounced some of those balls, maybe they’re swing and misses.”
Tommy Hunter gave up two hits to start the ninth and a sacrifice fly to former Oriole Brian Roberts before getting Yangervis Solarte to ground into a double play for his third save, finishing off the Orioles’ second straight win over New York. Brian Matusz got two outs (1-0). Matusz has stranded 51 of 56 inherited runners dating to 2012, a major league best.
“It’s not always going to be pretty, you just look at the result,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Jones came up to a smattering of boos before his first at-bat a day after he said, “They should let us have a shot to kick `em with our metal spikes,” about two fans who ran on the field Tuesday. The fans’ shenanigans got a huge cheer from the crowd.
Jones fanned his first two times up to hardy cheers. Jones wasn’t alone. Tanaka had the Orioles flailing at his nasty split-fingered fastball all night, many bouncing in the dirt.
“He is as good as advertised,” Showalter said of Tanaka.
There were many empty seats on a brisk night in the Bronx despite it being New York’s first chance to see the prized Tananka, who signed a seven-year, $155 million contract with the Yankees this winter — plus a $20 million rights fee paid to his team in Japan, Ratuken.
Tanaka warmed up to the bubbly “My Dear Fellow,” a song written for the 25-year-old pitcher by the Japanese group Momoiro Clover Z. He then received a rude welcome from Markakis. The Orioles leadoff batter grounded the first pitch of the game right back at Tanaka, hitting him on the foot before it deflected to shortstop Derek Jeter, who made the throw for the out.
In similar fashion to his first big league start at Toronto, Tanaka was tagged early before settling in.
He gave up three runs — two earned — in the first two innings Friday of a seven-inning outing in which he struck out eight. This time, Schoop hit a soaring three-run homer high above the left field pole in the second inning.
But Tanaka gave up just three more singles and a walk.
Gonzalez was equal to the task, allowing seven hits and three runs. He walked one and struck out three.
NOTES: Tanaka’s walk of Wieters in the third snapped a streak of five straight games in which the Yankees’ starter did not allow a walk. … Orioles OF David Lough passed a concussion test in Baltimore earlier in the day. He came in as a defensive replacement in the ninth. Jemile Weeks was brought to the Bronx from Triple-A Norfolk and was in the clubhouse Wednesday in case Lough was placed on the disabled list. … Orioles LHP Johan Santana (shoulder) will pitch BP Saturday in Sarasota, Fla. … RHP Dylan Bundy (Tommy John surgery) threw 35 fastballs. Manager Buck Showalter said it went well. … Up next: The Yankees begin a four-game series against Boston Thursday. Michael Pineda (1-0) makes his first Yankee Stadium start. The Orioles open a series against Toronto in Baltimore on Friday.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)