Masahiro Tanaka moves to 5-0 as Yankees beat Brewers

Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka stands in the

Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka stands in the dugout after striking out against the Milwaukee Brewers in the third inning. Photo Credit: AP

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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.

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.

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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.

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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."

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