Tanaka, 2 Yankees relievers combine on no-hitter vs Tigers
New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka pitches during the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the Detroit Tigers Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
MARK DIDTLER, Associated Press
LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — Masahiro Tanaka felt he was a little too wild — too wild for the Detroit Tigers to hit, in fact.
Tanaka kept up his strong start this spring by combining with two Yankees relievers on a no-hitter Friday in a 3-0 win over the Tigers.
New York manager Joe Girardi didn't keep the lineup card as a souvenir, but still appreciated the spring training feat.
"I'm happy for our guys," Girardi said. "It's fun. Obviously, it means more if it's the regular season, but still it's a no-hitter."
Tanaka, scheduled to start on opening day, struck out six and walked two in 4 1-3 innings. The Japanese ace has thrown 13 1/3 scoreless innings in exhibition play.
"I felt that I wasn't at my best, but considering that I still was able to put up some zeroes, so that part satisfied me," Tanaka said through a translator. "The slider and the cut fastball, the location of it, I felt like I was all over the place. The command of those can be better."
After Chasen Shreve got the final two outs in the fifth, Jordan Montgomery finished up with four perfect innings. Montgomery has emerged as candidate for a bullpen spot and could get into the mix for open fifth starter spot.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said "there was pride involved" in trying to avoid being no-hit, even in an exhibition game.
"You don't want to get no-hit, whether it's spring training or regular season, Wiffle ball in the backyard," Ausmus said. "It was on the radar."
J.D. Martinez, Nick Castellanos and Justin Upton were among the Detroit regulars who started. Ausmus noted that players who worked out early and left the ballpark before the game ended "might not even know at this point" what had taken place.
Detroit had just three baserunners, who all reached base early on. In addition to Tanaka's consecutive walks to Castellanos and Martinez in the first, Dominic Ficociello reached on a throwing error by shortstop Gleyber Torres with one out in the second.