You know what the best part about stealing a game on the road to re-take the division lead is? It's coming back the next day and getting another win behind a lights out performance from your staff ace. That's exactly what the Yankees did this afternoon to gain another game on the Jays and set themselves up for a payback sweep tomorrow. Masahiro Tanaka was great today. He had all of his pitches working, he worked efficiently through the first half of the game, and he seemed to get better as the day went on. Toronto got to him for a run in the 5th after he walked Ryan Goins on 4 pitches to start the inning and loaded the bases before recording an out, but that was the best and really only chance they would get. They would manage just a single baserunner over the final 4 innings and Tanaka picked up 5 of his 8 strikeouts in that timespan. It was his biggest start of the year, one in which the Yankees needed him to be the best version of himself, and Tanaka came through in the biggest way imaginable.
Offensively, it was the elder statesmen who did the heavy lifting this afternoon. Carlos Beltran got things started early with a solo shot to right in the top of the 1st. He's piping hot at the plate right now and continues to be quietly great since May-June. Mark Teixeira picked up the go-ahead RBI on a solo homer in the 6th and tacked on an insurance run with a ribbie single in the 8th. The last insurance run came courtesy of a JRM double to lead off the 9th, a Stephen Drew sac bunt, and a Jacoby Ellsbury single up the middle.
No need for relievers today. Tanaka went the full 9, the Yankees extended their retaken division lead to 1.5 games (3 in the loss column), and they'll look to close it out with Luis Severino on the hill tomorrow.
- 2-3 day with a BB for Beltran, his tenth straight game with a hit. His season tripleslash is up to .271/.333/.474. He also made multiple nice plays in right field going back to the wall and coming in on some low liners. Vintage Beltran is the best Beltran.
- Teix also had 2 hits and a walk, and got robbed of a potential bloop RBI single by the shift earlier in the game. He, Gardner, and Ellsbury have all been showing signs of waking up lately. Hopefully A-Rod can join that club after a day off today.
- Congratulations to Greg Bird for picking up his first Major League hit with a single the other way in the 8th. He just missed cranking a 2-run homer to right in the previous at-bat. Hasn't had the BIP luck go his way, but he continues to make good contact.
- 9 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8 K for Tanaka. Take away the hiccup inning in the 5th and he was dominant. Showed a lot of emotion on some close calls and strikeouts late in the game too. You could tell he was feeling it.
- Haven't had a chance to update this in a while, but the AL East magic number is down to 45.