As if Masahiro Tanaka needed any more pressure.
The Yankees, their rotation in tatters with Ivan Nova done for the season and Michael Pineda soon to hit the disabled list, already had found themselves dependent on the Japanese righthander for quality starts.
Now, after Friday night's 10-5, 14-inning loss to the Rays further taxed their bullpen, they could use a lengthy start from Tanaka Saturday afternoon, too.
"Our bullpen's a mess, there's no doubt about it,'' Joe Girardi said. "So what it does for us tomorrow, we're going to need some distance out of our starter for sure. And I'm sure there will be some conversations tonight."
Saturday's 1:05 p.m. game will begin about 12 hours after the previous one -- which lasted 5 hours and 49 minutes -- ended at 12:58 a.m. Saturday. "It would have been a good one to win, you're out there all that time, but you have to have a short memory,'' Derek Jeter said. "We come back here in a few hours."
Fill-in starter Vidal Nuño lasted only 42/3 innings and Girardi had to call on seven relievers the rest of the way. The first six allowed one run in 81/3 innings. But the seventh, righty Chris Leroux, allowed five runs in the 14th inning, starting with Wil Myers' one-out RBI single. That was followed by an RBI double by Sean Rodriguez and RBI singles by Brandon Guyer, Yunel Escobar and Ryan Hanigan.
The Yankees had tied the score at 4-4 in the eighth on back-to-back two-out homers by Mark Teixeira and Alfonso Soriano off Joel Peralta. They tied it again at 5-5 in the ninth on a two-out RBI single by Jacoby Ellsbury off Juan Carlos Oviedo. But they left runners on second and third in the 11th and 12th and stranded three more runners in the 13th.
With Yankees on second and third and one out against Heath Bell in the 13th, the Rays brought rightfielder Myers in to play first base, giving them five infielders -- and pinch hitter Brett Gardner couldn't get the ball out of the infield, hitting into a 3-9 groundout. The Rays then intentionally walked Ellsbury to load the bases for Jeter.
The move made sense. Ellsbury was 4-for-6 to that point and Jeter was 0-for-6. "You have to do that,'' Jeter said. "There's no other choice."
But with a few thousand remaining fans standing and chanting his name, Jeter hit a weak bouncer back to Bell. He finished 0-for-7, stranding six runners. "Just one of those days,'' he said. "Just when you think you've seen it all, you see something new. No one wants to go [0-for-7], but we had our opportunities. We just didn't come through."
Overall, the Yankees went 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position and stranded 13. They were outhit 20-18 by the Rays.
"With runners in scoring position, we tried to do too much,'' Soriano said. "We need to relax."
In between the Yankees' two rallies, David Robertson allowed a go-ahead RBI single by Evan Longoria in the top of the ninth. It wasn't a blown save, but Robertson is likely to treat it that way after being scored on for the first time this season.
Brian McCann gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead in the second, hitting a two-run homer off David Price. The Rays retook the lead in the fourth, an inning highlighted by a rare gaffe by Ellsbury in center. With one out, Longoria sent a fly ball to deep center, and Ellsbury made it clear that he couldn't see it. The ball landed well beyond him for a triple. "Just lost it in the sky,'' he said. Myers' RBI single tied it at 2-2 and, after walks to Rodriguez and James Loney loaded the bases, Logan Forsythe's sacrifice fly made it 3-2. Desmond Jennings then homered in the fifth.
Notes & quotes: Tanaka, never more important to the Yankees' rotation than he is now because of injuries that have sidelined Nova and Pineda, brings a 3-0 record and 2.27 ERA into Saturday afternoon's start. Tanaka said he's been only "so-so" this season. "I'm not satisfied with how I've pitched," he said. "I've given up runs, particularly early in the game. That part kind of bothers me." . . . Friday night marked Girardi's 1,000th game as Yankees manager. "Fortunate and blessed," he said. "I've been able to do what I love to do in a place I love to be for a long time." . . . Because of Adam Warren's excellent work out of the bullpen, Girardi said Warren -- a starter his entire career until this season -- won't be a candidate to start should another rotation spot open. "I look at him as our seventh-inning guy and a guy I would use more than three outs," Girardi said. "He's become very important to our bullpen."