MILWAUKEE - Talking about his first game in a National League ballpark a day earlier, Masahiro Tanaka wasn't enthusiastic about hitting, calling the prospect "a little bit scary."
The Yankees, of course, committed $155 million during the offseason for Tanaka's right arm, not his hitting ability -- and to this point in the season, it has been a wise investment.
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Though predictably overmatched at the plate, Tanaka again proved more than a match for the big-league hitters standing at it, mostly coasting through 61/3 innings in the Yankees' 5-3 victory over the Brewers last night in front of 40,123 at Miller Park.
Still, Tanaka, who allowed two runs, seven hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in improving to 5-0 with a 2.57 ERA, is his own worst critic. That again was the case Friday night.
"I was missing some spots," he said through his interpreter. "It might have looked like I was cruising in the early innings, but I don't think I was able to pitch as well as I wanted. I was getting lucky as well."
The Yankees (19-15) certainly have gotten lucky with rookie Yangervis Solarte, who provided the hit of the night. He hit a three-run homer off Brewers righthander Yovani Gallardo (2-2, 2.92) in a four-run fourth inning that proved to be plenty for Tanaka.
Solarte, a non-roster invitee who made the camp out of spring training, has two homers and a club-best 18 RBIs.
"He's been one of our most consistent hitters," Derek Jeter said. "A little stretch where he scuffled, but that happens to everyone. But him and Jacoby [Ellsbury] have really been the only two guys who have been consistent for us the first two months of the season."
Said Solarte: "I just want to keep going and keep trying to help the team win. I'm so excited for the opportunity."
The Brewers (22-14) got their first two runs in the sixth, an inning in which a fan bolted onto the field and headed straight for Jeter -- a moment that could have been scary but turned out not to be.
"He was saying he wanted a hug," Jeter said. "I was thinking I wasn't going to hug him. It happened quick. I didn't see him until he was past the third- base line. I wasn't scared."
Jeter walked a step away as stadium security quickly ran on the field. "I told him, you're going to get in trouble, and he repeated he wanted a hug," Jeter said.
Just before the trespasser was flattened by one of the security guards with a textbook lead-with-the-shoulder tackle, Jeter tried to help one last time.
"I said, 'Look out,' " he said.
Adam Warren replaced Tanaka with one out in the seventh and got out of the inning on a strike-'em-out throw-'em-out double play. He struck out pinch hitter Lyle Overbay and Brian McCann threw out Logan Shafer.
After Warren pitched a perfect eighth -- Shawn Kelley was unavailable and said afterward that he is day-to-day with a back issue that required an MRI, which came back negative -- David Robertson allowed Mark Reynolds' eighth homer of the season in the ninth but recorded his sixth save in as many chances.
As for his work as a batter, Tanaka said in Anaheim that he didn't plan to swing unless he was called on to bunt -- and he went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.
"Again, very good," Joe Girardi said. "He pitched very well, gave us distance. His at-bats? Eh. But he pitched very well."