(SportsNetwork.com) - The Japanese phenom that is Masahiro Tanaka will try to stay unbeaten when the New York Yankees resume a three-game series versus the Tampa Bay Rays Saturday afternoon in the Bronx.
Tanaka is off to a promising start for the Yankees and has a 3-0 mark to go along with a 2.27 earned run average in five outings. The Yankees are 4-1 when Tanaka takes the hill and he did not figure into the decision of a 3-2 victory against the LA Angels on Sunday.
The right-hander struck out 11 batters, walked four and permitted two runs on five hits in a season-low 6 1/3 innings. Tanaka has fanned 10 or more batters three times already this season and has a total of 46 across 35 2/3 innings. He will face Tampa Bay for the first time and is 1-0 in three starts at Yankee Stadium.
Tanaka has been his own worst critic when it comes to his 2014 debut.
"I'm not satisfied with how I've pitched," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "I've given up runs, particularly early in the game. That part kind of bothers me. There are other parts as well. But that's one thing that has bothered me."
Things haven't gone too smoothly for Tampa Bay starter Jake Odorizzi, who gets the call against the Yankees and Tanaka.
Odorizzi has allowed 18 runs over his last four starts (17 2/3 IP) after throwing six shutout innings in his season debut on April 4. He has given up four runs in each of the past two outings, including Monday's 7-3 road loss to the White Sox in which he was reached for eight hits in 4 1/3 innings.
The right-hander has walked eight batters in the past three trips to the hill and is 1-3 with a lofty 6.85 ERA in five starts. Odorizzi threw three scoreless inning of relief for a save against the Yankees last Sept. 24 in a 7-0 win in the Bronx.
New York has lost three in a row and suffered a 10-5 loss in 14 innings Friday night. The Rays rallied for five runs in the top of the 14th, as Wil Myers, Sean Rodriguez, Brandon Guyer, Yunel Escobar and Ryan Hanigan produced run- scoring hits to saddle Chris Leroux with the loss.
Leroux was one of seven relievers used by the Yankees after starter Vidal Nuno was reached for four runs in 4 2/3 innings.
Jacoby Ellsbury had four hits and an RBI, and his run-scoring single in the ninth sent the game into extra frames. Mark Teixeira, Alfonso Soriano and Brian McCann all homered for the Yankees, who fell to 2-4 on their current homestand. Soriano and Brian Roberts had three hits apiece in defeat.
"We had our opportunities, it didn't happen," Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said. "It would've been a good one to win after all that time. But you have to have a short memory."
The game was the 1,000th for Yankees manager Joe Girardi as the club's skipper, making him the sixth in franchise history to reach the milestone.
Soriano needs four hits to become the seventh player all-time with at least 1,000 hits in each league.
Tampa Bay's big comeback in the series opener in the Bronx was its third straight win and lifted the club to a 4-4 mark on a current road trip.
Evan Longoria, James Loney, Myers, Escobar and Rodriguez had three hits apiece and Desmond Jennings homered for the Rays, who posted a 20-18 advantage in hits and showed poise after Teixeira and Soriano hit back-to-back homers in the eighth inning. Longoria gave the Rays a short-lived lead with an RBI single in the top of the ninth, then Ellsbury tied it in the bottom half.
"It was a crazy game," Rays manager Joe Maddon remarked. "There were so many unlikely things that we were able to work through."
Maddon was ejected in the top of the 13th inning after arguing a replay call that Girardi successfully challenged.
Tampa Bay split a four-game series with the Yankees at Tropicana Field earlier in the year. The Rays, though, have won seven of their last eight in the Bronx.