In his first three starts since returning from the disabled list June 3, Masahiro Tanaka had strongly resembled the ace he was before getting hurt last season. On Sunday, however, he resembled the pitcher who struggled on Opening Day.
For those who had forgotten, that is not a good thing.
Knocked around for seven runs (five earned) and three homers, Tanaka took it on the chin in a 12-4 loss to the Tigers in front of a Father's Day crowd of 38,691 at the Stadium.
"His location was a little bit off,'' Brian McCann said. "He wasn't hitting his spots like he normally does.''
J.D. Martinez hit three of the Tigers' five homers, giving him 16, and drove in six runs. He connected for a two-run shot in the first, two batters after a two-run blast by Victor Martinez.
"It's kind of a bad spiral,'' Tanaka (4-3, 3.17 ERA) said through his translator. "You want to start out strong but you give up four runs. You don't want to do that in the first inning. Hopefully, I can get it back and be better the next time out.''
J.D. Martinez got to Tanaka twice and hit a three-run shot off Rocky Point High School graduate Danny Burawa, who made his major-league debut, in a five-run sixth that made it 12-2.
"I just feel like today we were able to just get [Tanaka],'' J.D. Martinez said. "The biggest thing is to get him up [in the zone]. If you're chasing down, it's going to be a long day for you.''
The Yankees (38-31), whose winning streak was snapped at four games, got two homers from Stephen Drew, his 10th and 11th, and McCann's 10th.
Tanaka, 2-1 with a 1.71 ERA in his previous three starts, allowed 10 hits, which matched a career high, in five innings.
Anibal Sanchez (6-7, 4.59) allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings.
Tanaka, who had allowed only four homers this season, retired the game's first two batters before Miguel Cabrera singled to right. Tanaka hung an 85-mph slider that Victor Martinez planted in the second deck in right. After Didi Gregorius bobbled Yoenis Cespedes' grounder to short for his ninth error, J.D. Martinez hammered a 90-mph fastball to left-center to make it 4-0.
"He just didn't have the control he's had the last [few starts],'' Joe Girardi said, "and it really hurt him.''
Detroit (35-34) scored twice in the second. After Cabrera drew a two-out walk to load the bases, Victor Martinez (four RBIs) reached down to bang an 0-and- 2 fastball up the middle for a two-run single that made it 6-0.
The Yankees scored twice in the second. McCann swatted a long homer to right-center and Brendan Ryan, starting at third with Chase Headley getting the day off, singled to make it 6-2.
J.D. Martinez tagged Tanaka again in the fifth, leading off with a long homer to center on a first-pitch curve to make it 7-2.
"For whatever reason, he just didn't have it today,'' Girardi said. "There was nothing that told us he wouldn't have it. Just one of those days.''