BOSTON – There’s wearing it, to use some old baseball slang, and then there’s what happened to Masahiro Tanaka Thursday night.
Wearing it doesn’t quite cover his Titanic of an outing.
Tanaka, despite being consistently barreled up from the word go, was left on the mound for 3 1/3 hard-to-watch innings in which he was shelled for a career-worst 12 runs and 12 hits in a 19-3 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park, a game that saw catcher Austin Romine as the Yankees’ final pitcher of the night.
The 19 runs were the most scored by the Red Sox, who had 23 hits, against the Yankees in the 117-year rivalry.
“We did get our [expletive] kicked tonight,” Luke Voit said in a perfect synopsis.
The Yankees (66-36) arrived at their hotel about 5:30 a.m. Thursday after flying in from Minneapolis, though no one used that excuse. Big-picture reminder: They still hold a 10-game lead over the Red Sox and Rays in the AL East.
They dropped to 2-2 on this trip that started with winning two of three from the Twins in a series marked by poor starting pitching.
“This time through, we haven’t gotten length out of the starters and being up against it like we are down there,” said Aaron Boone, who was determined to give much of his taxed bullpen some time off. “Just trying to work through as best we can right now.”
Tanaka fell right in line with the rest of the starting staff’s performance this week — bad, though again that doesn’t quite cover it.
The Red Sox sent 11 to the plate in a seven-run first inning and batted around again in the five-run fourth. That's when Tanaka, whose ERA ballooned to 4.79 from 4.00, finally departed with one out.
Tanaka (7-6) allowed two homers, giving him 21 in 21 starts this season, and became the second pitcher in franchise history to give up 12 or more earned runs in a game. Carl Mays allowed 13 July 17, 1923, at Cleveland.
“A lot of disappointment,” Tanaka said through his translator. “You understand what the situation of the pitching staff is. We’ve been relying a lot on the relievers recently and you go into the game wanting to go long and give them a bit of a break, and it actually turned the other way around. There’s a lot of disappointment there.”
Tanaka was replaced by lefthander Stephen Tarpley, recalled earlier in the day from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He was sent back after he allowed four runs and five hits over 1 2/3 innings.
“The pitches weren’t bad, but it ended up what it ended up,” Tanaka said. “I do need to look at some stuff and figure things out.”
In Tanaka’s last four innings against Boston, including June 29 in London, when he allowed six runs in not getting out of the first inning, he has allowed 18 runs (all earned), 16 hits and five walks.
“That’s something we have to dive into a little closer,” Boone said of Tanaka’s recent difficulties against Boston. “They’ve obviously been on a little of pitches and seeing him well. It’s something we’ll examine and see where we can eliminate that moving forward."
Romine came on in the eighth with the score 16-3 and allowed two homers, a two-run shot by Sandy Leon and a solo blast by Xander Bogaerts, who also hit a three-run shot in the first, when the carnage began.
Rick Porcello (9-7) allowed three runs, two in the second, and six hits over six innings.
“It was not our night tonight but we still have three more against them,” Voit said. “And we hope to win those next three games.”
Masahiro Tanaka has been beaten up by the Red Sox in his two most recent starts against them, on June 29 in London and Thursday night at Fenway Park. The two-game totals:
IP H ER HR BB SO ERA
4.0 16 18 3 5 4 40.50