Game 115: NYY vs. TOR — Completely Tanaka

If I were to compare the series last weekend with the series this weekend, the only disappointing thing is that the locations weren’t switched. It’s always better to hit a winning streak on your home turf. Then again, there is something rather satisfying with winning on a rival’s turf. And if that rival is desperately trying to take back the first place spot in the division, it ends up leaving each game with more of a play-off feel.

This afternoon’s game was entirely Masahiro Tanaka’s game from start to finish, and that’s why he could throw a complete game today and solidly earn this win, his 9th of his abbreviated season so far. Tanaka threw 112 pitches over 9 innings, being rather efficient with many pitches and showing off his Tanaka-stuff like only he can. Overall, he gave up 5 hits, 3 walks, and a run, striking out 8 Toronto batters. Tanaka struggled the most in the 5th inning when he loaded the bases with two walks and a single with no outs and some of the biggest hitters in the Blue Jays’ line-up on their way to the batter’s box. A sacrifice fly scored their lone run of the day before Tanaka got his other two outs to end the inning.

Unlike last weekend, the Yankees jumped on the offense and kept digging in their heels towards their inevitable win today. In the 1st inning, Carlos Beltran hit a 2-out solo home run, continuing his pattern set last night of giving the Yankees the lead. Then in the 6th, with the score tied, Mark Teixeira followed Beltran’s example by hitting his own 2-out solo home run so the Yankees regained the lead.

In the 8th, with 1 out, Beltran doubled and then Young came on as his pinch-runner. Young then scored on Teixeira’s single. One out later, rookie Greg Bird hit his first major league hit, a single, with his parents cheering him on from the stands. He now has an actual MLB batting average — .111 due to going 1-for-9 in his last two games. Based on what I saw in Spring Training and these recent games, I don’t expect that number to stay there for very long.

The Yankees decided to make one more run effort in the top of the 9th. Murphy led-off with a double, moved to 3rd on Drew’s sacrifice bunt, and then scored on Jacoby Ellsbury’s single. Despite a pitching change, stolen base, and a walk, the Yankees couldn’t add anything further to their score. But like I said before, this was Tanaka’s game, as evident by his 1-2-3 9th inning.

And I’m going to take a moment to just rave about Didi Gregorius and his ridiculous defense. I know going into Spring Training there was some almost hesitation coupled with some overcompensation to fill some very big, recently vacated shoes. And it seems that recently, Gregorius is becoming a key asset to the infield defense with his constant show of some great, often run-saving plays in almost every game — like in today’s game with a strong throw in the 4th and the nearly diving stop in the 7th.

Final score: 4-1 Yankees.

The Yankees have one more game in Toronto tomorrow (and will be looking for the sweep) before heading back to the Bronx for more home games and HOPE Week. Yes, HOPE Week, my favorite week of the season, is back, and I can’t wait to see what amazing people and community outreaches the Yankees get to help and give a voice to this next week.

The Revolving Door… (formerly known as “Roster Moves”)
Before the game, Chris Capuano was designated for assignment, and Caleb Cotham was recalled from AAA in an effort to keep fresh arms in the bullpen rotation. Part of this decision was to rest pitchers like Betances and Miller, who have thrown the last two games, especially after Miller’s exhausting 9th inning last night.

Go Yankees!

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