TAMPA, Fla. -- Right-handers Masahiro Tanaka and Julio Teheran turned in strong starting pitching performances as expected, before a six-run fifth inning pushed the Yankees to a 7-4 win over the Braves on Sunday afternoon at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Facing essentially all of Atlanta's everyday hitters, Tanaka struck out six and allowed one run on three hits and two walks over 4 1/3 innings. The lone blemish against him came in the fourth, when Tommy La Stella doubled off the left-field fence to drive in Dan Uggla.
"That split-finger he's got, it's a good pitch. It's a swing-and-miss pitch," Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said of Tanaka. "He spots up his fastball. I was watching it on TV when I came out of the game. He's able to go in and out, and that split-finger's a swing-and-miss pitch. He can throw it for a strike and also get you to chase on it. He looked real good today."
The same could be said for Teheran, likely the Braves' Opening Day starter, as he fanned five and allowed one run on five hits and a walk over four innings. Ichiro Suzuki, batting leadoff after Jacoby Ellsbury was scratched due to a tight right calf, knocked an RBI single to right field off Teheran in the second to score Ramon Flores.
The Braves took a brief lead in the fifth on B.J. Upton's line-drive RBI single to left off Yankees lefty Matt Thornton, but New York came storming back in the bottom of the inning. Brian McCann, facing his former team for the first time, drilled a two-run double to right. Flores then singled to score Kyle Roller, who entered as a pinch-runner for McCann, and Anthony Varvaro's wild pitch allowed Kelly Johnson to score.
Up next: Right-hander Hiroki Kuroda will take the ball for his fourth appearance of the spring on Monday as the Yankees travel south to face the Pirates at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Fla., at 1:05 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on MLB.TV. Kuroda, who will be making his third Grapefruit League start, allowed six earned runs on 10 hits over 3 2/3 innings on Wednesday against the Tigers. Right-hander Stolmy Pimentel is slated to start for Pittsburgh.