Game 155 Recap: Yankees 5 Jays 2

Tanaka vs TOR A win this afternoon would have been nice.  It would have given the Yankees a 3-1 series victory in the 4-game weekend set against their division rival.  But in the grand scheme of things it didn't matter.  What mattered was getting a look at Masahiro Tanaka and seeing how he pitched and how his elbow held up after over 2 months on the DL.  It was an abridged version of a typical Tanaka start, but it was enough to give a little hope at the end of a long, hopeless season.

It didn't start out great.  The first 2 Jays hitters singled to start the game, and 1 run scored on an Edwin Encarnacion GIDP.  That got Tanaka back on track quickly and he struck out Dioner Navarro on 3 pitches to end the inning.  He gave up only 1 more hit in the next 4 innings and was mixing pitches well to get easy outs.  2 more singles in the 6th brought him to 70 pitches and brought Joe out to end his day.  5.1 innings, 5 hits, the 1 1st inning run, and 4 strikeouts with no walks.  Not bad at all.

It was all about the top of the order for the offense today.  A Brian McCann solo home run in the bottom of the 1st tied the game.  A Brett Gardner solo shot to lead off the 5th put the Yankees ahead.  Gardner doubled to lead off the 7th, scored on a Derek Jeter double in the next at-bat, and McCann brought 2 more home next with his second homer of the day.  5 runs scored on the day and all 5 of them were scored and driven in by the top 3 in the batting order.

Joe wasn't playing around with his bullpen understudies today.  Adam Warren followed up Tanaka and worked around his 2 on/1 out jam with a pair of strikeouts.  He pitched a perfect 7th too to get Betances and D-Rob.  Betances wasn't sharp, perhaps due to lack of recent work, and gave up a run on 2 singles and 2 stolen bases in the 8th.  David Robertson pitched around a 2-out walk for his 38th save.

Game Notes:

- Top 3 in the lineup: 6-12, 2 2B, 3 HR, 5 R, 5 RBI.  Rest of the lineup: 2-20.  Both hits were by Ichiro.

- 4th straight 2-hit game for Jeter and third game with an extra-base hit in his last 4.  This has easily been his best chunk of games all season.  Pretty cool.

- Third straight game with a ribbie for McCann, and his first 2-homer game since April 12th against the Red Sox.

- Warren looked out of gas for most of August, but he's caught a second wind in September.  1.64 ERA in 11.0 innings and 7 K in his last 3 appearances.

- Some final numbers on Tanaka.  Threw 48 strikes on 70 pitches, 13 first-pitch strikes to 21 batters faced, forced 8 groundball outs, and had 6 swinging strikes.  I don't think his stuff was as nasty as we've seen it earlier and his fastball wasn't as fast, but he looked pretty good for a guy who missed as much time as he did.