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NYY@CHC: Tanaka strikes out seven in first MLB loss

Masahiro Tanaka did something Tuesday against the Cubs he hadn't done in a long time -- he lost a regular-season start.

Tanaka suffered the first loss of his Major League career at Wrigley Field, allowing four runs (three earned) in a 6-1 defeat to the Cubs. Including his career in Japan, it was Tanaka's first loss in 42 regular-season starts. He was an incredible 24-0 last season and went undefeated through his first eight big league starts.

Tanaka will look to start a winning streak when he and the Yankees try to earn a split against right-hander Andre Rienzo and the White Sox on Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field.

"It's crazy," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We'll see how he handles it, but I'm sure he'll handle it well, just like he has everything else. Maybe it'll make him mad, and he'll roll out 44 [straight] now."

Before he was toppled by the Cubs, Tanaka's last regular-season loss came on Aug. 19, 2012, when the Seibu Lions defeated his Rakuten Golden Eagles at the Seibu Dome.

"I try to go out there to be my best every time out, but given the outing last time, yes, I really want to go out there and perform better," Tanaka said.

Rienzo, meanwhile, seems to have found something in his last two starts after lasting just 4 2/3 and 5 2/3 innings in his first two starts of May. He's lasted at least six innings and allowed two earned runs in each of his last two starts, striking out eight hitters Tuesday at Kansas City.

Rienzo said the key to his recent success has been the ability to attack the zone with all three of his pitches -- fastball, cutter and curveball. He's also more relaxed than his first go-round in the big leagues last season.

Yeah, I try to feel relaxed," Rienzo said. "Last year, I was too anxious at times, and I thought too much about things that already happened. Second inning I would have [given up] two runs, last year I thought too much about that. So this year, I try to forget and move on."

Yankees: Girardi not overly concerned about Roberts
Brian Roberts wasn't in Saturday's lineup after fouling a pitch off his right kneecap in the fourth inning of New York's 6-5 loss to the White Sox on Friday. He remained in the game until the ninth, when he was replaced at second base by Brendan Ryan.

X-Rays taken on Roberts on Friday came back negative. Girardi said Roberts was available in an emergency situation during Saturday's game.

"Any time you hit something off your kneecap, you worry about it; you're concerned you could have a crack or [it could] shatter," Girardi said. "It's a sensitive area, but for the most part, he feels pretty decent. He's sore, but there's really no swelling. Hopefully, we won't need him [Saturday] and he'll be a player tomorrow."

White Sox: Ventura fine with rotation order
The return of ace Chris Sale reordered the White Sox rotation. Sale was followed by Hector Noesi on Friday and John Danks on Saturday. Then comes Rienzo and Jose Quintana, giving the White Sox alternating left-right through one turn in the rotation.

Quintana had previously been the No. 3 starter and Danks No. 5, but things have changed since Sale came back, Felipe Paulino went down and Erik Johnson was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte. Keeping the current order also gives each starter an extra day of rest with an off-day on Thursday.

"I think keep it right there because it gives everybody else an extra day when they come back from that off-day, so I don't see it switching any time soon," Ventura said.

Worth noting
• Ventura was ejected in the second inning of Saturday's game, his first of the season and eighth as a manager.

• The White Sox bullpen has allowed seven earned runs in eight innings (7.88 ERA) this series.

• Chicago has lost 12 games after leading this season.

• Jacoby Ellsbury is hitting .311 in 33 career games against the White Sox.

• The Yankees improved to 3-1 in extra innings with Saturday's 4-3 win in 10 innings. Comments