TORONTO (AP) — Dustin McGowan didn’t get the ending he wanted after his long road back to being a major league starter.
Instead, Yankees newcomer Masahiro Tanaka started his big league career in style.
Tanaka pitched seven innings, Jacoby Ellsbury had three hits and the Yankees beat McGowan and the Toronto Blue Jays 7-3 on Friday night.
The defeat spoiled McGowan’s first start since September 2011. He allowed four runs and eight hits in 2 2-3 innings, walked one and struck out three.
“He’s better than that and he’ll get better than that,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
McGowan (0-1) surrendered two runs and five hits in the first, running into trouble because he was tipping his pitches.
“I’ve got to fix that for sure,” McGowan said. “I knew something was wrong from the get-go.”
Tanaka, the much-touted Japanese import, stumbled early too, surrendering a home run to Melky Cabrera on his third pitch.
It was Cabrera’s first homer of the season and the second leadoff shot of his career.
“It was my mistake and I thought that Cabrera took a really good swing at it,” Tanaka said through a translator.
Tanaka settled down to retire the next three batters, catching Jose Bautista looking at a curveball and getting Edwin Encarnacion to miss on a slider.
Tanaka ran into trouble again in the second, when throwing error by Mark Teixeira loaded the bases for the Blue Jays before Jonathan Diaz grounded a two-run single to left.
New York reclaimed the lead and chased McGowan (0-1) with a two-run third that was aided by an overturned call. McGowan thought he’d escaped a jam when Ichiro Suzuki was called out on an infield chopper, but Joe Girardi argued and the call was changed after replay review. Yangervis Solarte followed with a two-run double.
“That’s big,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “Without instant replay, we’re out of that inning.”
Tanaka looked comfortable the rest of the way, facing just one batter over the minimum in his final five innings. Encarnacion hit a one-out double in the third but was left stranded. He reached again on an infield single off Solarte’s glove to begin the sixth but was erased on a double play.
Tanaka allowed three runs, two earned, and six hits, walked none and struck out eight. He threw 97 pitches, 65 strikes, and earned his 100th professional victory.
“He’s definitely the real deal,” Gibbons said.
Ellsbury, New York’s other high-priced offseason addition, stole two bases and scored twice as the Yankees won their second straight following an 0-2 start. He doubled and scored in the first, singled in the second, doubled and scored in the fourth and walked in the sixth.
Ellsbury, who came in hitless in his first three games with the Yankees, also made a sliding catch to retire Dioner Navarro for the final out of the sixth.
“He did everything tonight,” Girardi said. “He hit, stole bases, made a great catch in centerfield. That’s why we went and got him, because that’s what he capable of doing. He’s a game-changer.”
Solarte doubled twice and had three RBIs.
“That kid had a nice game today,” Gibbons said. “I don’t know where he came from but he’s a pretty good little player.”
Teixeira left in the second after he strained his right hamstring while trying to field a foul grounder. Kelly Johnson moved from second base to first and Brian Roberts came in to play second.
Girardi said Teixeira will be evaluated again Saturday, and that Johnson will continue to handle first base.
“It kind of leaves you scrambling a little bit,” Girardi said.
Teixeira was limited to 15 games last season because of a right wrist injury suffered at the World Baseball Classic.
NOTES: The Blue Jays designated RH Jeremy Jeffress and recalled RH Chad Jenkins from Triple-A Buffalo. … Former Blue Jays Cy Young award winner Roy Halladay threw out the first pitch. … Toronto Mayor Rob Ford attended the game. … New York RH Michael Pineda faces Dickey (0-1, 10.80) on Saturday. For Pineda, it’s his first major league start since Sept. 21, 2011, when he pitched for Seattle. Pineda had shoulder surgery in May, 2012.