Rapid Reaction: Yankees 9, Rays 3

May, 3, 2014
May 3
4:40
PM ET
NEW YORK -- With Masahiro Tanaka pitching and Mark Teixeira hitting, the New York Yankees bounced back from a marathon loss to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 9-3 on Saturday afternoon, ending a three-game losing streak.

Tanaka kept his perfect record alive at 4-0. Teixeira drove in three of the Yankees' runs, with a two-run home run in the fourth inning and a run-scoring single in the seventh.

Finding a way: It wasn't Tanaka's best start as a Yankee. In some ways, it might have been his worst. But when Tanaka was done Saturday, he had pitched seven innings and allowed just three runs, handing a lead to the late-inning relievers and giving much of the bullpen a needed rest.

Tanaka threw 113 pitches, the most the Yankees have allowed him to throw in a game so far this season. He still hasn't lost a game for the Yankees (or for anyone for nearly two years), and the Yankees are now 5-1 in games he has started.

Betances in the 8th: With Shawn Kelley and Adam Warren unavailable because of heavy recent workloads, manager Joe Girardi went to rookie Dellin Betances with a three-run lead in the eighth inning Saturday. Betances handled the bigger role well, facing the middle of the Rays' order and pitching a scoreless inning with two strikeouts.

Betances has 28 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings, with a 1.72 ERA.

Tex power returns: Remember when even Teixeira was wondering if the wrist injury that cost him most of 2013 would also limit his power potential this year? There's less need to wonder now, after Teixeira homered again Saturday.

It was his fifth home run of the season, tying Carlos Beltran and Alfonso Soriano for the team lead. More significantly, it was his fourth in the past five games.

And maybe just as significant as that, it was another home run into the second deck. Perhaps Teixeira's power is returning.

Teixeira also drove in the Yankees' fifth run, with a seventh-inning single.

Jacoby and the Rays: Jacoby Ellsbury had four hits Friday and three more on Saturday, so in six games against the Rays this year, he's now batting .444 (12-for-27).

Ellsbury also stole another base Saturday, his 10th of the season.

Part-time hitter: Ichiro Suzuki might not love his part-time role with the Yankees, but he's proving to be useful in it. Ichiro doubled to start the Yankees' fifth-inning rally Saturday and doubled again to drive in a run in the eighth. The two hits raised his batting average to .375. Only four players in the majors with 45 or more plate appearance have a higher average.

Two-strike trouble: In his first five starts, Tanaka went to two strikes on 80 batters, and only five of them got hits (four others walked). But Tanaka allowed two-strike singles to David DeJesus and Ryan Hanigan to give the Rays a second-inning run Saturday, DeJesus had another two-strike single in the fourth, and James Loney had one in the sixth.

What's next: The Yankees finish the series with the Rays, and the eight-game homestand, with a 1:05 p.m. game on Sunday. CC Sabathia (3-3, 5.11) starts for the Yankees, with Erik Bedard (0-1, 5.52) going for the Rays.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
13 2.47 139 134
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRB. McCann 22
RBIB. McCann 71
RB. Gardner 85
OPSB. Gardner .757
ERAH. Kuroda 3.77
SOM. Tanaka 139