Home cooking was exactly what the New York Yankees needed to sweep the Tampa Bay Rays. In a fight for first place in the AL East, the Bronx Bombers battered the Rays and received sparkling starting pitching to lengthen their lead in the division.
Masahiro Tanaka was zeroed in and posting zeroes for the pinstripes. Tanaka’s outing was exactly what the doctor ordered. The New York defense was equally up to the task behind him. Edwin Encarnacion‘s pinstriped debut didn’t result in any hits but he did work some nice at-bats. A barrage of power also helped the Bronx Bombers secure a 3-0 victory.
MASA’S MONDAY MASTERPIECE
Tanaka was on point and focused and didn’t have any innings where he unraveled. Going the distance, Tanaka recorded a shutout victory. The Rays, who have only scored one run in 22 innings off Tanaka this season, went 0-for-25 against his slider and splitter. Tampa didn’t register a hit until the fourth frame.
Posting a two-hit shutout with 10 K’s, Tanaka became the first Yankee since Mike Mussina in 2002 to do so.
With Giancarlo Stanton back in the lineup, the Yankees played small ball, beat back the Rays’ shifting madness and capped it off with some power ball. The Bronx Bombers extended their consecutive game home run streak to 21 straight. Pitching to the scoreboard also went a long way toward a 6-3 victory.
Facing opener Ryne Stanek in the first frame the Yanks hustle helped them earn a run.
LeMahieu reached on an infield single, Voit walked and Aaron Hicks reached on a potential double-play ball to make it runners at the corners with one out.
Sanchez followed by putting the Yankees on the board with a sacrifice fly to center.
HAPP HANDS IT OFF
J.A. Happ wasn’t lights out but did enough to keep New York in the game. With one out in the second three consecutive singles by Kiermaier, Guillermo Heredia and Mike Zunino knotted the game at one. An inning later, Tommy Pham doubled to center to set the table. A one-out RBI-single to right by Avisail Garcia gave the Rays their first lead at 2-1.
Otherwise, Happ would scatter seven hits across five frames while fanning three.
During the fifth, the Yankees bounced back with one out against Chaz Roe. Torres and Maybin collected consecutive singles to left. LeMahieu and Voit followed suit with consecutive RBI-singles to left for a 3-2 advantage. With two down, Sanchez doubled the lead by busting the shift with an RBI-single to right-center.
Adam Ottavino picked it up from Happ in the sixth with a pair of strikeouts on his fastball and cutter. Tommy Kahnle pitched into and out of trouble in the seventh, yielding a run and fanning two on his changeup. Zack Britton worked his sinker to full effect and got a nice spin-o-rama inning-ending double-play from Torres and Gregorius. Aroldis Chapman whiffed the side in the ninth inning with a 102 mph fastball being the exclamation point.
CC Sabathia took full advantage of the early lead and put it on cruise control. The veteran southpaw provided the pinstripes with length, going six strong, fanning seven, including striking out the side in the third, yielding one run on three hits. Sabathia became the 14th pitcher in major-league history to record 250 victories and 3,000 K’s.