Correia overcomes early trouble, matches Yankees' Tanaka
MAY 31, 2014 5:31p ET
Correia and Tanaka had matched up against each other in Spring Training. It's hard to miss what Tanaka has done in his first two months in major league baseball. Correia knew he couldn't let his team get behind early.
Then Correia was staring at the bases loaded with no outs in the bottom of the first inning. Brett Gardner had singled to lead off, Derek Jeter doubled and Jacoby Ellsbury walked. This is where Correia has slipped up at times this season.
He held firm on Saturday in Yankee Stadium and stayed true to not letting his team get behind Tanaka. Correia came back to strike out Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann grounded into a double play to end the inning without a run crossing the plate.
"Bases loaded, nobody out, tough situation to be in the first inning, but I felt good," Correia said after the game. "So I knew I could get out of it and I was able to get a strikeout and a ground ball. It was something I was able to do a lot last year.
"I think that's been the difference between last year and this year is, in situations, I was able to get that ground ball and double play and I did it today."
Correia was in trouble again in the second inning after two singles, but another double play got him out of the jam and he pitched one of his best games of the season in a no-decision against New York. The Yankees scored two runs against reliever Brian Duensing (1-2) in the eighth inning for a 3-1 win.
But Correia was able to match Tanaka (8-1), who went eight innings for the win. Both starters allowed one run.
Correia gave up nine hits and had one walk, while striking out three batters. It was the second time this season he's allowed one run or less and lowered his ERA to 5.87, its lowest point since April 24.
"Yeah, feel good," Correia said. "I felt good most of the whole year. I haven't got the results I've been looking for, but it was a good start going against one of the best pitchers in the league. I knew runs were going to be hard to come by. We both had a lot of opportunities to score actually, both teams, but we both pitched out of some jams and they got the runs and we didn't."
Correia's lone mistake was a solo home run by Yangervis Solarte. Minnesota scored once, coming in the first inning when Brian Dozier reached on an error and later scored on a single by Josh Willingham.
Tanaka, who has nine quality starts in 10 starts this season, allowed only four hits.
"Every game he pitches, every time he goes out, every fifth day, he gives us a chance to win," Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner said. "We just stayed in there and kept battling against Correia until the eighth inning when we were able to come through with some big hits."
Correia can enjoy matching up with the top pitchers in the league, but he'd rather not be part of a pitcher's duel, necessarily.
"No. I'd rather be up 10-1," Correia said. "I'd rather be the one pitching well but it's always fun going up against the best guys in the league.
Throughout my career, I've obviously had a lot of opportunities to pitch against a lot of great pitchers and this guy's new around here but he's proved himself pretty quick. So, you know it's an extra challenge going in. You know you're not going to be able to go out there and give up a couple runs or else you're going to lose the game."
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