Masahiro Tanaka, Starting Wednesday, Lined Up To Pitch AL Wild-Card Game

But on a night when Masahiro Tanaka struggled early in his return from a hamstring injury, the Yankees stumbled again. At one point, the go-ahead and would be playoff-clinching run stood just 90 feet away at third base.

Advertisement

At 78-80, the Sox still have a chance to finish with a winning record.

Boston scored four runs in the top of the 11th to beat the Yankees, 9-5. He finally got out of it shortly after that, but the Yankees were now in a hole and Tanaka had thrown over 30 pitches.

Rookies Travis Shaw, Swihart, and Deven Marrero had singles off Andrew Bailey to give the Sox a lead in the 11th.

New York Yankees Robert Refsnyder, above, center, celebrates with teammates after hitting an eighth-inning, solo home run in a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox in New York, Thursday, October 1, 2015. It was Betts’ second homer of the game.

Hill is the first pitcher since 1900 to make a debut in September or later and have 10 or more strikeouts in each of his first three starts that season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Miley was able to get out of the inning after allowing just one run to score.

“He looked rusty”, manager Joe Girardi said of Tanaka.

It’s nice to see guys shake off their issues, get to the next pitch and work efficiently, but there’s a difference between working efficiently and working too quickly.

But Girardi said he’s still confident in Tanaka, who’s in line to start Tuesday’s potential wild-card game.

As first impressions go, there have been a few pretty good ones for the Red Sox this season. Tanaka seemed to adjust a bit, but the five hits and three runs he gave up don’t indicate he is up for the task to get the ball Tuesday night. Red Sox fans remember him for his disappointing tenure in Boston, and apparently it’s somehow going worse in New York.

Tanaka’s stuff was so mediocre tonight that he forced the Red Sox lineup to swing-and-miss a lousy two times in his five-innings pitched.

Nevertheless, the night’s biggest perpetrator, ninth-hitter Didi Gregorius, stranded a staggering 10 teammates, and he couldn’t blame his failures on defense or wind or anything else.

As the Yankees headed into the extra innings, their playoff situation still was unclear. But the Yankees couldn’t convert.

He’s still the best choice the Yankees have to start a must-win game. The only possibility that became certainty Wednesday was that the Yankees wouldn’t win the American League East, as the Blue Jays’ 15-2 beatdown of the Orioles in Baltimore gave Toronto its first division title since 1993. The Yankees, in front of a crowd of 39,000, were given the chance to punch their ticket into the postseason.

And so the Yankees were counting on their ace, Tanaka, to halt their poorly timed skid. Hopefully his bat will start to get hot heading into the postseason and beyond.

But then disaster struck in the form of a two-out rally.

Warren came to the rescue with three scoreless innings of relief to help the Yankees triumph, 4-1.

But he battled through the fifth inning, retiring the final eight batters he faced, leaving with the Yankees trailing, 4-1. Ignited by Jacoby Ellsbury’s leadoff double, they tied it with three runs against Wade Miley – one each on Carlos Beltran’s double, Brian McCann’s groundout and Chris Young’s ground smash to third.

Advertisement

Then the biggest symbol of their bounce-back ability, Alex Rodriguez, broke the tie with his 33rd home run, a shot to left against Matt Barnes in the sixth.

Yankees' Tanaka will return Wednesday