TORONTO (AP) — Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven innings to win his major league debut, Jacoby Ellsbury had three hits and the New York Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-3 on Friday night.
Staked to a 2-0 lead before taking the mound, Tanaka (1-0) got a startling welcome to the major leagues when the Japanese right-hander surrendered a home run to Toronto’s Melky Cabrera on his third pitch. It was Cabrera’s first homer of the season and the second leadoff shot of his career.
Tanaka settled down to retire the next three batters, catching Jose Bautista looking at a curveball and getting Edwin Encarnacion to miss on a slider.
New York reclaimed the lead and chased Blue Jays starter Dustin McGowan (0-1) with a two-run third that was aided by an overturned call. McGowan thought he’d escaped a jam when Ichiro Suzuki was called out on an infield chopper, but Joe Girardi argued and the call was changed after replay review. Yangervis Solarte followed with a two-run double.
Tanaka looked comfortable the rest of the way, facing just one batter over the minimum in his final five innings. Encarnacion hit a one-out double in the third but was left stranded. He reached again on an infield single off Solarte’s glove to begin the sixth but was erased on a double play.
Tanaka allowed three runs, two earned, and six hits, walked none and struck out eight. He threw 97 pitches, 65 strikes.
Ellsbury, New York’s other high-priced offseason addition, stole two bases and scored twice as the Yankees won their second straight following an 0-2 start. He doubled and scored in the first, singled in the second, doubled and scored in the fourth and walked in the sixth. Perhaps his hardest-hit ball came in the eighth, a liner straight back at reliever Steve Delabar, who knocked it down and threw Ellsbury out.
Ellsbury, who came in hitless in his first three games with the Yankees, also made a sliding catch in left center to retire Dioner Navarro for the final out of the sixth.
Solarte doubled twice and had three RBIs.
Teixeira left in the second inning after he strained his right hamstring while trying to field a foul grounder. Kelly Johnson moved from second base to first and Brian Roberts came in to play second.
Teixeira was limited to 15 games last season because of a right wrist injury suffered at the World Baseball Classic.
Starting for the first time since September, 2011, McGowan allowed four runs and eight hits in 2 2-3 innings. He walked one and struck out three. McGowan missed all of 2012 with foot and shoulder injuries but made 25 relief appearances last year.
NOTES: Yankees SS Derek Jeter got his first day off of the season…. Toronto RH R.A. Dickey was presented with his 2013 Gold Glove award in a pregame ceremony…. Former Blue Jays Cy Young award winner Roy Halladay threw out the first pitch…. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford attended the game…. New York RH Michael Pineda faces Dickey (0-1, 10.80) on Saturday. For Pineda, it’s his first major league start since Sept. 21, 2011, when he pitched for Seattle. Pineda had shoulder surgery in May, 2012.