Masahiro Tanaka goes two scoreless, strikes out three in his U.S. debut

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TAMPA — Masahiro Tanaka made his U.S. debut today, facing the Phillies at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. Tanaka pitched third in the game, with CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda taking the first four innings. Tanaka was not dominant, but he was effective.

In the fifth he gave up a leadoff single to Darin Ruf then retired Cody Asche and Cameron Rup on flies to left. He pitched the count full against Cesar Hernandez before ultimately striking him out. Back out for the sixth he struck out Ben Revere on three swinging strikes, one of which came on Tanaka’s fabled split-finger fastball. He then allowed a Ronny Cedeno single to center, struck out Domonic Brown and then induced Kelly Dugan to fly out to center.

Tanaka wasn’t razor-sharp, but he looked just fine for a guy getting his first work in of the spring. He threw 32 pitches, 22 for strikes. When he needed to dial it up a bit, such as that splitter to Revere and the chest-high fastball that served as strike three to Brown, he was able to easily. Mostly, he looked composed. He was like any other major leaguer at the first of March. He knows it’s a long season and didn’t feel any need to go to 10 when the Yankees only needed him at a 7.

Not bad for a 7.

Check out the highlights from Tanaka’s performance below:

 

Jorge Soler hits Royals’ first home run in nearly two weeks

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The 16-31, last place Royals had a power outage lasting nearly two weeks. Entering Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Cardinals, Jorge Soler had hit the club’s most recent home run, a solo shot off of the Phillies’ Jake Arrieta in the sixth inning on May 10. That time frame spanned eight games.

Soler ended the home run drought, hitting a three-run round-tripper off of Michael Wacha to cap off a six-run third inning in the first game of the twin billing, staking the Royals to a 7-0 lead.

Soler, 27, is now batting .249/.303/.497 with 11 homers, 30 RBI, and 22 runs scored in 198 plate appearances on the season. He’s the only member of the Royals currently in double-digits in homers, though Hunter Dozier (nine) and Alex Gordon (eight) should soon join him.