Cubs hand Masahiro Tanaka first loss in rainy 6-1 victory
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter May 20, 2014 10:46PM
Updated: May 21, 2014 12:30AM
Spurned by him over the winter and beaten by him last month, the Cubs got one back from Masahiro Tanaka on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field, handing the Yankees pitcher his first loss since 2012 in Japan in a 6-1 decision.
Tanaka, the top free agent of the offseason, hadn’t lost in 42 consecutive starts before struggling against the Cubs on a rainy night and sloppy mound.
Luis Valbuena doubled twice, singled and scored twice against Tanaka as the Cubs took the first of a two-game interleague series.
The Yankees committed $155 million over seven years to land Tanaka (6-1) and swamp the Cubs’ six-year, $120 million offer that came at the expense of doing anything else of substance over the winter.
Tanaka hadn’t lost since the Seibu Lions beat him Aug. 19, 2012, when he pitched for the Rakuten Golden Eagles.
Tanaka struck out 10, walked one and didn’t allow a run in eight innings of a 3-0 victory against the Cubs on April 16 in New York.
He began to struggle Tuesday almost as soon as heavy rains began in the third inning, when he had the grounds crew tend to the mound.
He walked his only batter in that inning, which also included a wild pitch, and he eventually gave up four runs (three earned) in six innings.
Former Cub Alfonso Soriano got a warm reception from the fans when he stepped to the plate for his first at-bat in the second inning. He went 0-for-4.
Outgoing Yankees captain Derek Jeter, who was presented with a No. 2 tile from the scoreboard in a pregame ceremony, had a pair of singles — the 3,354th and 3,355th of his career.
He grounded out to shortstop Starlin Castro with the bases loaded to end the game.