Masahiro Tanaka became the first pitcher in the majors to reach 12 wins after the Yankees defeated the Twins by the score of 7-4 tonight at Target Field, but he did so while failing to notch a quality start for the first time in MLB.
Tanaka gave up four earned runs and nine hits (both career-highs) and struck out just three batters (a career-low) over seven innings. And so, his quality start streak will end at 16. Still, it was the longest such streak to begin a career since Steve Rogers also had 16 straight quality starts with the Expos in 1973.
The win snapped a five-game losing streak for the Yankees and brought them back to an even 42-42 for the year. Carlos Beltran launched a three-run homer in the victory while Zelous Wheeler homered and singled in his major league debut.
Tanaka began tonight’s action tied with Felix Hernandez for the American League ERA lead at 2.10, but he’s now sitting at 2.27 for the year. You could make a strong case for either to start the All-Star Game for the American League, but Tanaka’s schedule might render the debate moot. He’s currently lined up to start the final game before the All-Star break next Sunday.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.