GAME 160: Sept. 29, 2017 Where: Yankee Stadium
Masahiro Tanaka ended a disappointing 2017 regular season on an extremely high note.
The inconsistent $22 million righty retired the first 14 batters he faced and struck out a career-high 15, as the Yankees picked up their 90th win of the year with a 4-0 victory over the Blue Jays on Friday at the Stadium.
The Bombers are still alive in the AL East, though the Red Sox’ magic number to clinch the division was one entering Friday. Boston faced Houston Friday night at Fenway Park.
Tanaka’s bid for a perfect game ended with two outs in the fifth, when he surrendered a weakly hit infield single to Ezequiel Carrera.
The 28-year-old finished with those 15 strikeouts in seven innings. He allowed three hits and walked none. It was Tanaka’s fifth double-digit strikeout game of the year.
Tanaka’s final regular-season stats: 1312, 4.74 ERA, 35 HR, 178.1 IP, 194 K, 30 GS. He is eligible to opt out when the playoffs are over. Otherwise, the Yankees owe him $67 million over the next three years.
Aaron Judge walked gingerly back to the dugout after grounding out to short in the third. However, he remained in the game.
Judge recorded an RBI single in the fifth. He has 31 RBI in September and 113 RBI for the season.
Dellin Betances started the ninth inning and allowed both batters he faced to reach before Joe Girardi turned to Aroldis Chapman. He had produced no runs or hits in his previous five outings. Chapman recorded his 21st save in 25 chances.
Masahiro Tanaka twirls seven innings of shutout ball, striking out 15 Blue Jays as his roller coaster season continues, and Yanks hope to see more of this side of righty while their offense, spurred by Greg Bird and a feathered onlooker (above l.), heats up at right time.