Mixed results for Braves as Miller shines, but lead gets away

Mixed results for Braves as Miller shines, but lead gets away

TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka was excellent in his first Grapefruit League start of the year, retiring all six batters he faced and striking out two before the Yankees came from behind to top the Braves, 3-2, on Thursday.

Tanaka displayed his full arsenal, throwing 15 of 19 pitches for strikes while maxing out at 94 mph with his fastball, and he has been encouraged by the way his right elbow has felt all spring.

"I was able to throw it just like the way that I would throw before I got injured," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "I feel good that I was ale to come out strong."

The Yankees pulled ahead in the seventh courtesy of an RBI ground-rule double by Jake Cave and Nick Noonan's sacrifice fly. Atlanta had grabbed the lead in the sixth on Alberto Callaspo's sacrifice fly off David Carpenter.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez wasn't around to see any of it, having been ejected by home-plate umpire Dan Iassogna after one pitch in the bottom of the first inning for arguing balls and strikes, but Shelby Miller bounced back from a rough spring debut to allow a run on two hits over three innings, walking one with two strikeouts.

"I felt good. I felt that we did a better job hitting our spots," Miller said. "We had a good idea what we wanted to do going in. I felt like we did a good job executing. Had some great defensive plays, especially that last double play. ... All around, I felt better, definitely."

Didi Gregorius put the Yankees on the board in the third inning, legging out a triple to deep left-center and scoring on Brett Gardner's fielder's-choice grounder. Gregorius was hit on the back of his left leg by a Michael Kohn fastball in the fifth inning, but manager Joe Girardi said that Gregorius likely has just a bruise.

"I'm good," Gregorius said. "[Girardi] said he was going to pull me out because I was only going to play another half-inning. There was no reason for me to stay in the game right there, so he took me out, I got ice, and I'm good."

Atlanta put a run on the board in the fifth against Scott Baker, a non-roster invitee hoping to crack New York's rotation. Christian Bethancourt doubled and was replaced by pinch-runner Braeden Schlehuber, who scored on a single by Todd Cunningham.

Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons made his first appearance of the spring after being slowed by a left oblique issue and went 1-for-3. Alex Rodriguez went 0-for-2 with a walk and is batting .385 this spring.

"I think every day is getting a little bit better," Rodriguez said. "Like every spring, this is no different. The first five days is the toughest test, because nothing you do in the offseason can prepare you for being on metal cleats out there for so many hours. Every day of the week gets a little better."

Up next: The Braves will go their separate ways for their second split-squad matchups of the spring on Friday afternoon. Right-hander Mike Foltynewicz will get the start at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., as the Braves host the Tigers and right-hander Shane Greene. Lefty Manny Banuelos will start against the Mets in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Foltynewicz and Banuelos are both competing for a spot in the rotation. Foltynewicz gave up one run on four hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings on Saturday, and Banuelos allowed two runs on two hits in one inning of work.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.