Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Masahiro Tanaka is human after all.
Seeing the New York right-hander for the second time this season, the Chicago
Cubs reached Tanaka for four runs -- three earned -- on eight hits to claim a
6-1 triumph over the Yankees on Tuesday, sending the former Japanese superstar
to his first regular-season loss since Aug. 19, 2012.
Dating back to his time in Nippon Professional Baseball, Tanaka had gone
unbeaten in 42 straight regular-season starts, posting a 34-0 mark, which
included a perfect 6-0 record since signing a seven-year, $155 million deal
with the Yankees in the offseason.
However, Tanaka (6-1) failed to keep the streak going, as he struggled
through the elements at a rain-soaked Wrigley Field while receiving just one
run of support thanks to a solid start from counterpart Jason Hammel.
"It was pretty wet out there at times," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of
the weather conditions. "I don't know if that had anything to do with it. He
still didn't pitch that bad. He was just slipping a little bit."
Hammel (5-2) held the Yankees to one run on four hits with six strikeouts over
5 2/3 frames to pick up the win, while Mike Olt recorded three RBI for the
Cubs, who have won three straight on the heels of a three-game slide.
"From the beginning we just haven't been able to pull out the one-run games,"
said Hammel. "That's the bottom line. The win-loss record can be a bit
deceiving at times. Tonight, a great game against a great team. ... It was a
great overall win."
John Baker and Emilio Bonifacio each registered two hits, an RBI and a run
scored in the victory.
Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter combined for four of New York's six hits, while
Mark Teixeira drove in the lone run for the Yankees, who have lost two
Tanaka fanned 10 over eight innings in a 3-0 win against the Cubs on April 16,
but Chicago made sure it wouldn't be blanked again, manufacturing a run in the
third and another in the fourth to grab an early edge.
In the third, Baker smacked a leadoff single, moved to second on Hammel's
sacrifice bunt and then found third on Tanaka's wild pitch. Bonifacio followed
with a single to center to score Baker for a 1-0 lead.
After Hammel retired the side in order in the top of the fourth, Luis Valbuena
opened the home half with a double, moved to third on a groundout, and scored
on Olt's sharp single to left.
Baker followed with a double to put men on second and third with one out, but
Tanaka wiggled out of the jam without further damage. Hammel tried to score
Olt with a bunt, but Tanaka used his glove to scoop up the ball and flip it to
catcher Brian McCann, who applied the tag on a sliding Olt.
Bonifacio then bunted Tanaka's next offering down the third-base line, but the
New York hurler barehanded the ball and flipped to the plate to retire Baker
for the final out of the inning.
Teixeira stroked a run-scoring single in the sixth to slice New York's deficit
in half, but Olt and Baker lofted back-to-back sacrifice flies in the bottom
of the frame to give the Cubs a 4-1 lead.
Preston Claiborne replaced Tanaka to start the bottom of the seventh and the
Cubs quickly took advantage. Bonifacio opened the frame with a triple before
Claiborne intentionally walked Anthony Rizzo two batters later.
Starlin Castro then plated Bonifacio with a single to left before Claiborne
gave way to Matt Thornton, who induced a fielder's choice groundout from
Valbuena before plunking Nate Schierholtz to load the bases.
Matt Daley replaced Thornton on the bump and walked Olt to score Rizzo for the
game's final run.
Jeter recorded his first stolen base since Sept. 5, 2012, 17 days after
Tanaka's last regular-season loss, which came against the Seibu Lions ...
Tanaka struck out seven to up his season total to 73 punchouts ... The Yankees
finished 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base ...
Valbuena collected three hits, including two doubles, and scored twice for the
Cubs ... Chicago's three-game win streak matches a season high, first done
April 30-May 3.