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Masahiro Tanaka: 'I was able to pitch the way I wanted to' . . . except to Kyle Seager

Masahiro Tanaka of the New York Yankees walks

Masahiro Tanaka of the New York Yankees walks off the field after the second inning against the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium on Friday, July 17, 2015. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Two mistakes cost Masahiro Tanaka what would have been his second scoreless outing of 2015, but they were not enough to stop him from getting the win.

Tanaka (6-3, 3.65 ERA) allowed a pair of home runs to Kyle Seager -- a solo shot in the third and a two-run blast in the fifth -- in the Yankees' 4-3 win over Seattle on Friday night in the Bronx.

Tanaka gave up three other hits and two walks and struck out seven in seven innings.

"You take Seager out of the lineup, he's got better numbers," Brian McCann said. "But I thought he threw the ball really well."

Tanaka hung a 77-mph breaking ball in the third, and Seager deposited it over the scoreboard in right-center to tie the game at 1. With Seager up and a man on second in the fifth, McCann set up for an outside fastball. Tanaka's 92-mph offering drifted over the middle of the plate, and Seager hit it 411 feet out to right to give Seattle a 3-2 lead.

"The at-bats against Seager, they were just bad pitches that I threw and he got the most out of it," Tanaka said. "Other than that, I felt pretty good out there. Pitches were coming out of my hand pretty good, and I was able to pitch the way I wanted to."

The seven strikeouts were the most by Tanaka since he fanned nine Mariners on June 3 in his return from the disabled list.

"The balls were pretty sharp," he said. "I think a lot of the off-speed stuff was going from strike to ball, and they were swinging at it . . . I want to try to replicate that in my next outing, as well."

In his two starts before the All-Star break, Tanaka went 13 2/3 innings and allowed four earned runs, eight hits and two walks. He struck out 11. The Yankees won both games, though Tanaka picked up just one victory.

He said he was happy to extend his hot streak into the second half.

"The team gave me the chance to go out the very first game after the All-Star break," he said, "so I just wanted to go out there and be really strong."

Tanaka threw 114 pitches in the Yankees' 6-2 win over Oakland on July 9, the first time he had eclipsed the 100-pitch mark in 2015. He threw 103 pitches -- 63 for strikes -- Friday night. He completed seven innings in each start, and will try to match his longest streak of starts of seven or more innings Thursday against Baltimore.

"That's what we expect," McCann said of Tanaka going deep into games. "The guy's an elite pitcher, so we expect that."

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