Yankees make Tanaka a winner in MLB debut

Toronto, ON ( - The third major league pitch from Masahiro Tanaka exited the field at Rogers Centre.

The offseason prized signing, though, settled down after the lead-off homer and pitched seven strong innings to help the New York Yankees to a 7-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Tanaka (1-0), who was signed in the offseason to a 7-year, $155 million deal after a spectacular few seasons with the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan's Pacific League, saw his third pitch belted over the right-center field wall by Melky Cabrera.

The 25-year-old right-hander gave up six hits and three runs -- two earned -- and fanned eight without walking a batter.

"To give us seven innings and be under 100 pitches, he did a really good job," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Tanaka finished an astonishing 24-0 with a 1.27 earned run average and 183 strikeouts against 32 walks in 212 innings over 28 games (27 starts) last year for Rakuten. This was his 100th professional win (100-35) counting the victories with the Golden Eagles.

Yangervis Solarte drove in three runs for the Yankees, whose win may have come at a cost. First baseman Mark Teixeira left the game in the second inning due to a strained right hamstring.

Dustin McGowan (0-1) gave up eight hits and four runs over 2 2/3 innings for the Blue Jays, who got a two-run single from Jonathan Diaz.

"We didn't get a lot of innings last night, and then tonight so you're forced to go to your bullpen," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. "He (McGowan) feels fine. He's better than that, and he'll get better than that."

The hit from Diaz to left plated Dioner Navarro and Brett Lawrie in the second inning for a 3-2 lead, but the Yankees benefited from a replay challenge in the next frame and went in front.

Brian Roberts walked with one out and stole second. With two outs, Ichiro Suzuki grounded to second and was ruled out on a close play at first. Girardi challenged the call and won when replays showed the ball wasn't in the glove of first baseman Edwin Encarnacion before Suzuki reached the base.

Solarte was up next and doubled off the wall in right center for a 4-3 margin.

That was one of the 16 hits for the Yankees, who tacked on another run in the fourth when Brian McCann singled to left to knock in Jacoby Ellsbury, who had doubled.

Brett Gardner's base hit in the eighth plated Dean Anna, who got his first MLB hit in the ninth, a single to left off Jeremy Jeffress. That came right after Solarte doubled to left-center to drive in Suzuki.

The Yankees got the early jump in Toronto's home opener. Ellsbury started the game with a double and scored on Carlos Beltran's bloop single to left center. Two batters later, Teixeira singled to right to score Gardner.

Teixeira suffered his injury while fielding a bouncing foul ball and left the field in obvious discomfort.

Game Notes

Ellsbury and Suzuki each had three hits ... New York was 9-of-24 with men in scoring position and stranded 11 ... Tanaka threw 65 of his 97 pitches for strikes ... Former Blue Jay Roy Halladay, who retired after last season, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.