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Masahiro Tanaka makes American debut as Yankees top Phillies 4-0

Tanaka, CC Sabathia, and Hiroki Kuroda combine for six scoreless in win
03/01/2014 4:30 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Masahiro Tanaka struck out three over two scoreless innings in his spring debut.(AP)
Six innings, no runs, no walks, five hits, six strikeouts.

That was the combined line of CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, and Masahiro Tanaka on Saturday, as all three made their spring debuts in a 4-0 victory over the Phillies at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa.

Joe Girardi ran out all three of his top starters on a "super Saturday" at The Boss, with Sabathia starting and Kuroda and Tanaka following in that order - and by the time the newest Yankees acquisition took the mound with a 1-0 lead in the fifth, the buzz in the air was palpable.

Tanaka ended up throwing 22 of his 32 pitches for strikes, including a splitter to strike out Ben Revere in the sixth that drew audible "oohs" from the crowd, and two scoreless innings (with a game-high three strikeouts) later, players were in just as much awe of the righty's stuff as the fans.

"That split is dirty and he showed it today," Sabathia said after the game of his new rotation-mate. "It was good to see him out there."

Added manager Joe Girardi: "I think people were eager to see him pitch. I think guys on our team were eager to see him pitch, too. A lot of people stayed."

The remainder of the Yankees bullpen easily kept those good vibes flowing, as Dellin Betances allowed only one walk in 1 2/3 innings, and Cesar Cabral finished the shutout, striking out two in his 1 1/3 perfect innings.

Offensively, The Yankees got all they needed in the fourth, when Francisco Cervelli and Kelly Johnson drew back-to-back walks ahead of an RBI single by Kelly Johnson. They would make it 2-0 in the fifth thanks to a Cervelli RBI single that scored Derek Jeter, and in the seventh, Adonis Garcia provided the insurance by ripping a two-run single with the bases loaded and two outs.

With the win, the Yankees even their Grapefruit League record at 2-2 and improve to 3-2 overall on the spring, and they will head out on the road on Sunday for a 1:05 p.m. tilt with the Blue Jays in Dunedin. Lefty Vidal Nuno will get the start, his second of the spring but first against a major-league squad, and Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran are both scheduled to make the trip.

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