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Masahiro Tanaka can’t hold four-run lead as Yankees get routed by Rangers

Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka walks to the dugout during a game against

Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka walks to the dugout during a game against the Rangers on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. Photo Credit: AP / Tony Gutierrez

ARLINGTON, Texas — Brutal.

Though the 11-5 loss to the Rangers on Friday night at Globe Life Park was quite different from the defeat Manny Machado’s walk-off homer pinned on the Yankees on Tuesday night in Baltimore, in its own way, it was comparable in shock value.

The bullpen was terrible late, as the Rangers batted around in a four-run seventh to blow it open, but that should not obscure what preceded it.

Handed a pair of early four-run leads, Masahiro Tanaka, a rotation standout since late June, collapsed. The righthander, 6-3 with a 2.77 ERA in his previous 12 starts, allowed one run in the second, two in the third and four in a mess of a fifth as Texas took a 7-5 lead.

“You feel pretty good when you’re in that situation,” Joe Girardi said of Tanaka pitching with a four-run lead. “But they grinded out some at-bats and got some key hits and knocked him out and took over the game.”

When Tommy Kahnle allowed two inherited runners to score, that sealed Tanaka’s poor final line: four innings-plus, seven runs and eight hits. “I feel responsible for the loss,’’ Tanaka said through his translator. “I feel I let it slip away. The offense gave me a comfortable lead and I wasn’t able to hold on.”

The loss dropped the Yankees (75-65) — who coughed up early 4-0 and 5-1 leads — 4 ½ games behind AL East-leading Boston.

Their offense was plenty culpable. After Aaron Judge’s two-out double in the fourth, the Yankees did not get another hit. They didn’t score after Didi Gregorius’ solo homer in the third produced a 5-1 lead and gave him a single-season career-best 21.

Texas lefthander Martin Perez (12-10, 4.81 ERA) allowed five runs (two earned) and eight hits in 5 2⁄3 innings.

The Yankees did the majority of their damage in the second, an inning that featured an error, an RBI single by Jacoby Ellsbury and a two-out, two-run single by Gary Sanchez, back from serving a three-game suspension. Nomar Mazara made it 4-1 in the bottom of the inning with his 19th homer.

After Gregorius’ homer pushed the lead back to four, RBI doubles by Delino DeShields and Elvis Andrus brought the Rangers within 5-3 in the bottom of the third.

Robinson Chirinos had an RBI double to left and scored the tying run in the fifth on a wild pitch (Sanchez had another rough night, as there were four wild pitches). After Shin-Soo Choo doubled to left — a drive that went off Brett Gardner’s glove at the wall — Kahnle allowed a two-run single by Andrus that made it 7-5. Said Joe Girardi, “[Tanaka’s] slider and split kind of got flat that inning.”

Gregorius fouled a ball off his right calf area in the eighth and was replaced in the field in the bottom of the inning. “It’s swollen,” he said.

He walked with a limp in the clubhouse afterward but isn’t looking for a day off Saturday afternoon. “I want to play,” Gregorius said. “I don’t want to sit down, especially in September. This means a lot.’’

Notes & quotes: CC Sabathia received an injection in his right knee Wednesday and was evaluated by team physician Christopher Ahmad a day later. It’s all part of routine “maintenance” on the knee, said Sabathia, who will throw a bullpen session Saturday and is scheduled to take his next rotation turn on Monday . . . With the Rangers starting a lefthander Friday night, switch hitter Chase Headley got the start at first over lefthanded-hitting Greg Bird. “Head’s been swinging really well against lefties,” Girardi said of Headley, 24-for-65 (.369) vs. lefthanders since June 26. “Birdie will be back in there [Saturday].’’ Headley went 1-for-4 . . . Austin Romine served his one-game suspension, stemming from his altercation with the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera, on Friday night. It was reduced from two games to one after Romine appealed the penalty . . . Girardi said Clint Frazier (left oblique strain), who started a rehab assignment Wednesday with Double-A Trenton, will be evaluated “after this weekend” to determine how close he is to returning . . . Girardi, Sonny Gray and Sabathia were among a small group of Yankees who visited Cowboys coach Jason Garrett on Friday morning in nearby Frisco at The Star, where the team practices.

New York Sports