Game 20: NYY vs. BOS — #TanakaTime wins pitching duel

Tonight’s final game at Fenway this series was bound to be one to watch. The Red Sox sent in their absolutely outstanding pitcher to oppose Masahiro Tanaka. Let me give credit where credit is due for a moment: Sale is a really good pitcher, and despite the Yankees’ advancing offense (including 8 hits), he somehow earned 10 strikeouts.

Both pitchers threw into the 9th inning, but it would be Tanaka who would clearly dominate thanks in part to the defense. Tanaka only got 3 strikeouts, but he only gave up 3 hits over a complete 9 shutout innings, throwing just 97 total pitches. This, of course, set himself up for his 3rd win of the season so far.

Like I said, the Yankees offense managed to dent into the Red Sox pitching, working 8 total hits off the starter. They also managed to turn that into a few runs. In the 4th, Aaron Hicks led-off with a single, moved to 2nd on a ground out, went to 3rd on a wild pitch, and then scored on Matt Holliday’s sacrifice fly.

Then in the 9th, Hicks and Headley led off with consecutive singles. Matt Holliday then hit a long ball to score Hicks, and Headley and Holliday ended up in scoring position. Now, according to the scorekeeper, it was due to Holliday’s single and ended up at 2nd on the throw, so it was definitely not that Holliday actually hit a nice double and the Red Sox were slow in their defensive response.

With no outs yet, that would be the end of Boston’s starter’s outing (and Gardner on to pinch-run for Holliday). So, the new reliever still gave up a single to Starlin Castro that easily scored Headley for the extra run. But then a pop-up in foul territory and a simple ground into a double play ended the advancing of the Yankees’ lead.

Tanaka quickly shut them down in order in the bottom of the 9th, that 3rd out being his 14th straight batter he got out. So the Yankees celebrated victory of the game and the series after tonight’s game took just 2 hours and 21 minutes to play, thanks to the sharp pitching on both sides.

Final score: 3-0 Yankees, Yankees win series 2-0.

Injury news: Didi Gregorius is scheduled to make his season debut with the Yankees back in the Bronx at tomorrow’s game against the Orioles. A corresponding roster move will be announced tomorrow, but I expect it will be a bench player.

And Gary Sanchez should begin his rehab stint with the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on Tuesday. Sanchez has been doing some baseball exercises (throwing at a distance, swinging in the cages, etc.), but will need to work his way back to the Bronx, expecting to be back in the first part of May.

A fun stat that came out just after the game is that the Yankees now have the lowest team ERA in baseball (2.90). The next 5 teams are: White Sox (2.92), Orioles (3.41), Red Sox (3.42), Astros (3.48), and Dodgers (3.48). Yes, this means the Yankees’ pitchers are allowing less than 3 runs per game on average. Tonight’s shutout is proof of how this nice statistic came into being for the Yankees.

And now, it’s back to the Bronx…

Go Yankees!

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