ST. PETERSBURG, FL – Masahiro Tanaka needed 105 pitches to turn in the best start of his 2018 season, as he pitched a complete game shutout of the Rays on Tuesday.
A single and a double to C.J. Cron, a single for Jesús Sucre and a walk to Ji-Man Choi were the only blemishes on Tanaka’s line. Tanaka did not allow a baserunner until the fifth inning, and pitched 1-2-3 innings in the first, second, third, fourth, sixth, eighth and ninth innings. He struck out nine and recorded 14 groundouts (compared to zero flyouts).
The Yankees got on the board in the first inning when Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge led off the game with singles. They moved to third on Giancarlo Stanton‘s strikeout-wild pitch. Didi Gregorius then scored Gardner on an RBI groundout to shortstop.
In the fifth, Brandon Drury got drilled on the hand by a 2-2 fastball with one out. Neil Walker singled him over to third. Another RBI groundout, this time by Austin Romine, scored Tyler Wade (pinch-running for Drury).
In the seventh, Miguel Andújar singled, Greg Bird doubled and Romine came through again, this time with a sacrifice fly to score the Yankees’ third run. In the ninth, Andújar doubled and scored on a single by Walker.
Aroldis Chapman threw a few warmup pitches in the bottom of the ninth, but ultimately was not needed because of Tanaka’s mastery. More of this would be great from Tanaka, of course.
Trade Alert 🚨
Of course, the Yankees garnered headlines during the game as they closed in on a trade for Orioles lefty Zach Britton. That trade was announced after the game ended in St. Petersburg, as well as in Baltimore. The Orioles acquired minor-league pitchers Cody Carroll, Josh Rogers and Dillon Tate.
Luis Cessa (1-1, 3.00 ERA) comes up from Triple-A to take Domingo Germán‘s rotation spot. He’ll face old friend Nathan Eovaldi (3-4, 4.26 ERA).