Bronx, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Masahiro Tanaka allowed only two bunt singles over eight strong innings as the New York Yankees defeated the Chicago Cubs, 3-0, in the opener of a day-night doubleheader at Yankee Stadium.
Tanaka (2-0) struck out 10 and walked just one to win for the second time in three starts this season. The rookie right-hander from Japan lowered his ERA from 3.21 to 2.05 after posting a 24-0 record and 1.27 ERA in his native country last season.
"He's pitched really well and we're really happy with what he's done," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi of Tanaka's transition to the majors.
He had set down 15 in a row before Anthony Rizzo's bunt single against the infield shift to begin the seventh inning ended that streak. Tanaka responded by retiring the final six batters he faced -- striking out three of them -- before being lifted for reliever Shawn Kelley to start the ninth.
"He had outstanding command and good command of the splitter," said Girardi of Tanaka's performance in this game. "He's pitched really well so far. We've been pleased with the adjustments he's made during the game. That's important to me."
Carlos Beltran homered and Jacoby Ellsbury went 1-for-3 with an RBI for the Yankees, who have won three straight. Dean Anna, starting at shortstop for a resting Derek Jeter, drove in the other run for New York, which has won four of five overall and improved to 5-3 on its current nine-game homestand that ends with tonight's nightcap.
Rizzo finished with two hits and Junior Lake had the other bunt single for the Cubs, who have lost three in a row.
Jason Hammel (2-1) suffered the tough-luck loss, surrendering three runs on five hits in seven innings. He struck out five and walked three in dropping his first decision of the season.
"He kept us in the ballgame," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said of Hammel. "(He) struggled a little bit with some command I think, but all in all, was trying to attack the zone and got us through seven (innings)."
Beltran's solo homer in the first started the scoring. New York added another run in the fourth when Brian McCann scored on Anna's sacrifice fly and scored again in the fifth, when Brett Gardner doubled and later came home on Ellsbury's groundout to the pitcher.
Ellsbury's swing was interfered with by catcher John Baker during the play, but the Yankees had the option of taking the play as it played out or awarding Ellsbury first base with Gardner remaining at third. New York manager Joe Girardi opted for the run.
Kelley worked a one-hit ninth for his fourth save of the season.
This is the first doubleheader of the season for both teams ... Beltran has four HRs and nine RBI this season ... Tanaka has 28 strikeouts in three starts this season ... This doubleheader was forced due to a rainout on Tuesday ... The second game of the doubleheader will see both teams wear the number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson.