October 7, 2020 | 5:05am
Masahiro Tanaka is happy to be pitching in Southern California instead of the wind and rain of Cleveland where he worked last week in the AL wild-card series.
As far as not following Cole in Game 2 of the ALDS on Tuesday night at Petco Park as he did in the wild-card series against the Indians, it wasn’t a big deal that Boone went with Garcia, the 21-year-old right-hander who allowed one run in just one inning before passing the ball to Happ. Tanaka will start Game 3 on Wednesday night.
“I wasn’t overly surprised when they told me I was going to go in Game 3 just because I didn’t really care about where I was pitching,’’ Tanaka said. “I can’t go into the details of why we are doing this but I have prepared myself to pitch in Game 3.’’
In Game 2 of the ALDs which the Yankees won 10-9, Tanaka had to put up with a rain delay at the start of the game and another in the first inning that lasted 33 minutes. Tanaka gave up four runs in the opening frame but rebounded to throw three scoreless innings before being lifted in the fourth with two runners on and not outs.
Pedro Martinez may have had a problem with Gleyber Torres stealing second base in the top of the ninth inning with a six-run lead in the Yankees’ ALDS Game 1 victory over the Rays in San Diego, but Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash did not.
“None whatsoever,’’ Cash said before the Rays’ 7-5 win in Game 2 on Tuesday. “We’d be doing the same thing, I assure you.”
Following Monday’s game, Martinez, the former Red Sox great who is now a TBS broadcaster, called Torres’ decision “a mistake.”
“You respect the opposition, because you expect them to respect you,’’ Martinez said. “And what you do is you add fuel to the fire, and later on if they bust you back, don’t think that they don’t respect you or they don’t like you. It was just that, that was a terrible mistake. I hope you learn, and the next time just don’t do that.”
The play came during the Yankees’ five-run ninth, when they blew the game open.
After Aaron Hicks’ RBI single made it a two-run game, Giancarlo Stanton hit a grand slam to put the Yankees up by six runs.
With two out, Torres singled and swiped second against Shane McClanahan, who was making his MLB debut. The Yankees loaded the bases again in the inning before DJ LeMahieu grounded out to end the inning.
Still, in a game that had a combined six homers, it was hard to say even a six-run lead was out of reach.
According to MLB COVID protocols player’s immediate family members can attend postseason games and sit apart from families staying in the team bubbles. That is why Stanton’s parents were able to attend Game 1 at Petco Park.
Boone didn’t sound like he was upset over Rays reliever John Curtiss throwing up and in to Gio Urshela and Torres after giving up Stanton’s grand slam in the ninth inning of Game 1.
“I didn’t realize how close it was, saw it later,’’ Boone said. “Our focus is really on the game and trying do what we can and not get distracted by that and try to win these games.’’
Petco Park workers were tightening up the covering on the outfield walls before Game 2.
“It should play a little more true and consistent across the board. There were a couple of dead spots and hopefully that is out of there,’’ Boone said of the fence coverings that were installed before Game 1.
LeMahieu carries a 22-game hitting streak against the Rays into Game 3 counting the regular season and postseason thanks to an RBI single in the ninth inning of Game 2 on Tuesday night. That was the longest current streak against a single opponent by an active player in the majors.
— Additional reporting by Ken Davidoff