Jonathan Loaisiga pitched five innings in his major league debut as the New York Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-0 Friday night at Yankee Stadium.
Filling in for Masahiro Tanaka, who injured both hamstrings running the bases last Friday at Citi Field against the New York Mets, Loaisiga held the Rays to three hits and navigated through four walks.
Loaisiga (1-0) became the second Yankee to make his debut as a starting pitcher at any version of Yankee Stadium and not allow a run. The other was Sam Militello who allowed one hit in seven innings against the Boston Red Sox on Aug. 9, 1992.
The 23-year-old right-hander also became the 11th native of Nicaragua to pitch in the majors, the eighth starter and first Nicaraguan to appear for the Yankees.
Loaisiga struck out six with 17 swinging strikes among his 91 pitches, as he became the fifth Yankee to start in his major league debut against Tampa Bay.
He issued walks in each of the first four innings, including a free pass to Mallex Smith that loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth. Following a mound visit from pitching coach Larry Rothschild, Loaisiga fanned Christian Arroyo with a slider in the dirt.
In the fifth, he allowed a one-out single to Johnny Field but ended the outing by getting ground balls from Matt Duffy and Jake Bauers. After Loaisiga reached the dugout, Brett Gardner gave him a pat on the back and other teammates congratulated him.
Didi Gregorius reached the second deck in the third inning with his 14th homer, and third in four games, as the Yankees won for the 12th time in 15 games. Gary Sanchez hit a bases-clearing double in the eighth, snapping a 0-for-20 skid.
Giancarlo Stanton lifted a sacrifice fly in the sixth for New York's other run.
Former Yankee Nathan Eovaldi (1-2) allowed five runs on eight hits in 7 1/3 innings in his fourth start back from a second Tommy John surgery.
The Rays dropped their eighth straight road game, were shut out for the fourth time this year and lost for the 12th time in their last 14 trips to Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees took a 1-0 lead with two outs in the third when Gregorius blasted Eovaldi's first-pitch curveball into the lower rows of the second deck in right.
The Yankees had runners at first and third in the sixth when Stanton lifted a fly ball in front of the warning track in center field, and they tacked on three more when Sanchez doubled to right off Jonny Venters with the bases loaded in the eighth.
--Field Level Media