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Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Notes: Tanaka won't soon forget Papi

By Wallace Matthews

BOSTON -- It wasn't so much the shot, it as the demonstration.

That's the takeaway I got from Masahiro's postgame news conference after his masterful, 7-1/3 inning performance against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night. Tanaka allowed two runs on seven hits, struck out seven and, as usual, walked no one.

His only anxious moment came in the fourth inning when first David Ortiz and then Mike Napoli crushed his fastball for home runs, Ortiz's being measured at a majestic 482 feet.

Not so majestic, however, was his routine after making contact, when he stood and stared at the flight of the ball for what seemed like 15 seconds.

I got the feeling the styling didn't sit too well with Tanaka, who did not smile when the question "what went wrong on the two home run pitches?" was translated into Japanese.

"Obviously I missed my spots," he said. "Maybe I could have gone with a different pitch for both batters. I’m sure I’ll see the two batters again in the future, so I’ll try to get outs next time."

See the two batters again in the future? Hmmm.

So a few minutes later, I asked him what he thought of Ortiz's posing, and if such things are done in Japan.

"I don’t think much about it," Tanaka said through his interpreter. "Obviously you don’t see that a lot in Japan, from Japanese players. But maybe some from American players who come to play in Japan."

I can't wait to see how Tanaka pitches to Papi the next time he faces him.

Carlos BELT-ran: The Yankees' ninth run of the night came on Carlos Beltran's team-leading fifth home run, a laser shot into the right-field seats in the eighth inning off Edward Mujica. He also leads the team in RBIs with 13.

Preventive maintenance: One more remarkable element to Jacoby Ellsbury's performance at Fenway is this: The right calf he tweaked in spring training is still not 100 percent. He was walking around the clubhouse after the game with an ice pack wrapped tightly around the calf. Ellsbury said it was just "maintenance."

Lots of contributors: Brian McCann was 3-for-4 tonight, including a double; Brian Roberts was 2-for-5, and Derek Jeter extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a pair of RBI singles in five at-bats.

Inevitable: As hot as Yangervis Solarte had been, it was to be expected that he would cool down. The rookie third baseman went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts to extend his hitless streak to 14 at-bats. His average is down to a season-low .303. But to his credit, Solarte has not taken his struggles at the plate out to the field; he made two sparklers at third tonight, including a running bare-handed play on Jackie Bradley Jr.'s seventh-inning bunt, firing slightly wide to Mark Teixeira, who made an excellent sweep tag to nail Bradley in the baseline.