THE BRONX – Masahiro Tanaka was not as sharp as his complete game shutout in his previous start, but his six shutout innings certainly did the job Tuesday night against Baltimore.
Miguel Andújar homered in the fifth inning to put the game out of reach after the Yankees loaded the bases. Giancarlo Stanton was drilled, Didi Gregorius singled and Aaron Hicks walked. After Gleyber Torres popped out to second base, Greg Bird lifted a sacrifice fly to center field. The next batter was Andújar, who drilled a 2-1 fastball 410 feet out to left field.
The Yankees got their scoring started in the first off Yefry Ramírez. Brett Gardner and Gregorius walked, then Torres adjusted well on a 3-2 slider to ground it up the middle for an RBI single. In the third, Gardner singled, Stanton reached on a fielding error by Tim Beckham after Gardner stole second. On a 1-1 fastball, Gregorius dumped a bloop single into left that scored Gardner.
After a hairy first inning where he drilled Jace Peterson and walked Adam Jones, Tanaka pitched quite well. He scattered a few hits and one more walk while collecting eight strikeouts. A great start against a bad team, but a win is a win so you know the Yankees will take it. Especially on a night where the Phillies beat the Red Sox.
A.J. Cole had a bit of a hiccup, allowing three runs (two earned) in 1⅓ innings. He made a 6-0 game into a 6-3 game, which isn’t great if you’re trying to rest the high-leverage guys. Austin Wynns singled, Beckham walked and then Peterson doubled to score both. Dellin Betances entered next, and a fastball of his clanked off the glove of Kyle Higashioka for a passed ball. Things got worse as Higgy’s throw got away and allowed Peterson to score. It was originally ruled a throwing error by the catcher but a check of the box score today shows it to be a missed catch error by Andújar.
Things calmed down in the ninth inning, as Aroldis Chapman struck out the side on 13 pitches.
Sonny Gray (8-7, 5.08 ERA) looks to put together a third consecutive strong start against counterpart Alex Cobb (2-14, 6.08 ERA), who is clearly not living up to his 4-year, $57 million offseason deal so far.