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December, 11, 2016

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Yanks give Tanaka a victory in Majors debut

TORONTO, Canada--Masahiro Tanaka made a shaky start to his first Major League season, but settled down to pitch seven solid innings in the New York Yankees' 7-3 win over Toronto.

Toronto leadoff hitter and former Yankee Melky Cabrera belted Tanaka's third pitch of the night over the right centerfield wall for a home run.

By the end of the second inning of Friday's contest, the Blue Jays had taken a 3-2 lead -- erasing a two-run advantage that the Yankees had given Tanaka in the top of the first frame.

Japan's Tanaka, who was signed in the offseason to a seven-year, US$155 million (112m euros) contract after starring in Japan for the Rakuten Golden Eagles, gave up six hits and three runs -- two earned -- and struck out eight without walking a batter in his highly anticipated regular-season debut.

The 25-year-old right hander arrived Stateside after a brilliant 24-0 season with a 1.27 earned run average and 183 strike-outs last year for Rakuten.

"I thought he settled down great," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "The first couple of innings were a little rough. He give sup a lead-off home run and then settles down in that inning, then gives up two runs in the next inning.

"Then to give us seven innings and be under 100 pitches -- he did a really, really good job."

On Friday, Tanaka threw 65 of his 97 pitches for strikes as he notched the 100th professional win of his career.

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