Tanaka strikes out 15 as Yankees beat Blue Jays
NEW YORK Masahiro Tanaka walked off the mound and tipped his cap to fans after one of his most dominant performances since signing with the New York Yankees in January 2014.
He struck out 15 over seven innings , his highest total since coming to the major leagues, allowed three hits and walked none to lead the playoff-bound New York Yankees over the Toronto Blue Jays 4-0 Friday and keep New York on the edge of contention in the AL East.
If only every start was like this.
“It's pretty obvious that there was a lot of ups and downs this season,” he said through a translator. “I understand what I've done wrong and all that, but I'm not really open to share that at this time.”
Tanaka (13-12) had five outings in which he gave up seven or eight runs but also had eight in which he allowed one run or none. He finished with a 4.74 ERA and yielded 35 homers - 10 more than his previous major league high.
“I knew that I needed to be aggressive,” he said. “Maybe I was lacking it a little bit.”
Already assured no worse than hosting a wild-card game against Minnesota, New York began the day three games behind AL Eastleading Boston with three games left. The Yankees could take the division only by beating the Blue Jays both Saturday and Sunday, having Boston lose three in a row to Houston and then defeating the Red Sox in a tiebreaker game Monday at Yankee Stadium.
New York ace Luis Severino could start against Boston or Minnesota.
“He'll be prepared for either day,” Girardi said.
Tanaka retired his first 14 batters before Ezequiel Carerra reached on an infield single up the middle just past Tanaka's glove.