Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka agreed with manager Aaron Boone's decision to take him out and go to the bullpen with a two-run lead despite having thrown only 78 pitches through six innings.
"I think that was the right timing," Tanaka told reporters through an interpreter after Zack Britton and Adam Ottavino combined to allow three runs, four hits and two walks in two innings as the Yankees lost to the Astros 4-3 at Minute Maid Park.
Tanaka pitched six strong innings, giving up one run and three hits. He pitched out of a two-on, no-out jam in the bottom of the sixth, but with Houston's 5-6-7 batters due up, Boone opted to go to the bullpen.
"I think the Astros' batters were starting to get the barrel on the ball," Tanaka said. "... I felt I gave everything I had in the sixth inning there."
Britton retired two of the first three batters he faced, then issued a two-out walk to Tyler White before surrendering a game-tying two-run double to Robinson Chirinos to right-center field.
Ottavino struck out George Springer to end the threat, but ran into trouble in the eighth when he walked Alex Bregman, allowed a single to Michael Brantley and gave up a weak infield single to Carlos Correa in between the mound and first base, allowing Bregman to score the winning run.
"He couldn't bunt it better than that," Ottavino said, according to the New York Times' James Wagner.