CHICAGO (AP) — Masahiro Tanaka had his regular-season unbeaten streaked snapped at 42 starts, allowing a career-high four runs in six innings, and the Chicago Cubs beat the New York Yankees 6-1 on Tuesday night.
The Cubs honored the retiring Derek Jeter before the game, then handed Tanaka his first loss in nine major league starts.
It was a surprising turn, considering Chicago came in with the majors’ worst record and the right-hander from Japan had been sensational.
Tanaka (6-1) had been 34-0 in Japan and North America the last two seasons. He did drop Game 6 of the Japan Series last year before earning the save in Game 7. But postseason aside, he hadn’t lost since the Seibu Lions beat the Rakuten Golden Eagles on Aug. 19, 2012.
Luis Valbuena had three hits with two doubles and scored two runs. John Baker had two hits, scored a run and drove in one.
Mike Olt drove in three. Jason Hammel (5-2) pitched solid ball into the sixth and Hector Rondon retired Jeter on a grounder with the bases loaded in the ninth, preserving the win on a hot and rainy night with thunder and lightning.
Tanaka had his worst outing, allowing eight hits to match a career high. He struck out seven and walked one.
Coming off his first major-league shutout against the Mets last week, Tanaka gave up RBI singles to Emilio Bonifacio in the third and to Olt in the fourth to make it 2-0. The Cubs added to their lead with two in the sixth on back-to-back sacrifice flies by Olt and Baker after Mark Teixeira singled in a run in the top half for New York.
That was enough for Hammel, who allowed one run and four hits in 5 2-3 innings while striking out six and walking one.
Hammel ran into trouble in the sixth when Brett Gardner led off with a double and scored on Teixeira’s two-out single. He then walked Brian McCann before Justin Grimm retired Alfonso Soriano on a force at third, but the Cubs made it a three-run game in the bottom half.
The Cubs saluted Jeter before the game, with shortstop Starlin Castro presenting him a number 2 from the famed Wrigley Field scoreboard at home plate as the crowd cheered. And there was a loud ovation when the Yankees’ captain batted in the first.
Former Cub Soriano also got a warm welcome in his first game at Wrigley Field since the Cubs traded him to New York last July. He was 0 for 4.
NOTES: Asked if there’s any chance he’ll play after this season, Soriano said, “Yeah, I feel good.” He plans to keep playing if he feels this way at the end of the season. He’s in the final year of an eight-year deal he signed with Chicago before the 2007 season. … The Yankees won’t have to leave town after this two-series wraps up, with a four-game series at the White Sox opening Thursday. … Cubs manager Rick Renteria said OF Justin Ruggiano is close to returning from a strained left hamstring but didn’t give a specific date. He also said reliever Pedro Strop is “coming along” as he recovers from a strained left groin.
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