NEW YORK (AP) — Perfect through three innings, Jake Odorizzi was gone before he got an out in the fifth.
The Yankees changed their approach against the right-hander, started to take him the opposite way and rallied past the Tampa Bay Rays 9-3 Saturday.
Odorizzi is 0-3 with an 8.72 ERA in five starts since beating Toronto in his season debut on April 4.
He outdueled Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka for three innings, and the Rays gave him a 3-0 lead. But Jacoby Ellsbury singled to lead off the fourth and, one batter later, Mark Teixeira hit a two-run homer. Ellsbury chased Odorizzi with a long RBI double off the wall in the fifth.
"Today I did the exact same thing in the first three that I did in the fourth and the fifth, the exact same thing," Odorizzi said. "All the hits I gave up today were opposite field. We were sitting away, away, away, and it worked the first time through. We went back to it and they did a good job of staying back, hitting it where it was pitched and they went the other way with everything."
Teixeira homered for the fourth time in his last five games and drove in three runs as the Yankees stopped a season-high, three-game losing streak.
Tanaka extended his regular-season unbeaten streak to 40 starts, and Kelly Johnson hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the sixth inning off Josh Lueke (0-2), who also gave up a run-scoring single to Teixeira and a sacrifice fly to Alfonso Soriano in a two-run seventh.
Tanaka (4-0) gave up solo homers to Desmond Jennings and Wil Myers around an RBI single by Ryan Hanigan, falling behind 3-0 by the fourth and looking shaky by the standard set over his first five big league starts.
"I think I was able to get my rhythm back as I got deeper into the game," Tanaka said through an interpreter.
New York’s offense did the rest. Teixeira hit a two-run homer in the fourth, and Ellsbury’s RBI single in the fifth tied it at 3.
Signed by the Yankees from Japan’s Rakuten Golden Eagles during the offseason, Tanaka allowed three runs and eight hits in seven innings, striking out his last two batters to give him five or the day.
"He just grinded it out," said Matt Joyce, who struck out attempting to bunt for a hit in the first. "He was a little frustrated with himself at times. You could tell. And he just kept working through it."
After Odorizzi retired the first nine Yankees in order, New York went 4 for 8 with two walks before he was replaced by Cesar Ramos. Opponents are batting .140 (7 for 50) against Odorizzi in his first time through the batting order, .442 (19 for 43) his second time through and .500 (9 for 18) the third.
"He had a good fastball today. Just once he gave up the homer, things just started to erupt," Joe Maddon said.
The Rays manager was not discouraged, a day after the Rays hung in for a 10-5, 14-inning win in the series opener. Saturday’s loss ended a three-game winning streak that tied a season-high.
"I thought we had great at-bats. I was very pleased with the whole thing. If we had just pitched to our normal abilities, then we would’ve had a good chance to win that game," Maddon said. "Understand one thing: These guys have been playing really good baseball in a really short period of time."
NOTES: Yankees manager Joe Girardi said the 12-pitch at-bat by Yangervis Solarte ending the third may have helped the Yankees break through against Odorizzi by making the young right-hander work and show his repertoire. … James Loney had three hits, keeping alive a hit streak over his last 13 games at new Yankee Stadium. Myers has hit in all 12 of his games at the ballpark. … Sunday’s game is a matchup of left-handers, New York’s CC Sabathia (3-3) vs. Erik Bedard (0-1). … Ellsbury had three hits, two runs and a steal.