GAME 64: Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka pitched one of his best games of the season in a 4-2 victory over the host Seattle Mariners. He cruised through the first eight innings, allowing only three singles, faltering only in the top of ninth. A Brian Roberts error with one-out, and a Robinson Cano home run that just cleared the left-centerfield fence was the only damage. Tanaka struck out 11, walked only 1 in his complete game win, and lowered his ERA to an American League-leading 2.02. He tied Chicago’s Mark Burhle for the most wins in the AL at 10.
The fireworks came from a third inning RBI single by Jacoby Ellsbury, and a booming 400 foot, 3-run homer to right-center by Mark Teixiera in the fifth inning (video here). That was all Tanaka needed. The 3-run blast propelled Teixiera into the team-RBI lead with 30. The slumping Alfonso Soriano did not play, as it was announced he will sit against right-handers. The team needs him to get it straightened and now!
Offense Warming Up
In the spread out 10 hit attack on Mariner pitching, everyone was invited expect Carlos Beltran and Yangervis Solarte, who both went 0-4. Everyone else had a least one hit, and Derek Jeter, Brett Gardner and Ellsbury contributed 2 apiece. With some big divisional series coming up, the timing couldn’t be better for the lumber to end the slumber. Derek Jeter also recorded his 350th career stolen base (video here).
Here’s the box score and a recap from mlb.com’s Bryan Hoch. The Yanks go for the series sweep tomorrow (when’s the last time anyone said that?) behind young-gun Chase Whitley. On the heels of his first major league win, Whitley will face Roenis Elias, who pitched a solid 7 innings in Yankee Stadium on May 1st, getting the win in a 4-2 Seattle victory.
LOOKY HERE: For the first time in forever, the Yankees actually picked up a game in the standings tonight. The deficit is now back to 4.5 games (three in the loss column), as old friend Phil Hughes helped out with a 7-shutout inning start in a victory over the suddenly mortal Toronto Blue Jays.
MEMORY LANE: On June 11, 1974 Yankees pitcher Mel Stottlemyre makes his 272nd consecutive start, with no relief appearances, to set an A.L. record. (Source: Today In Baseball History) … and on this date in 2000, the club signed Dwight Gooden as a free agent … In 1985, pitcher Ed Whitson started and went into the 10th inning in a 4-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. After allowing 1 third inning run, Whitson settled down and retired 19 straight at one point. The bullpen blew it in the op of the 10th, allowing 3 runs. That was a rough year for Whitson, as the fans were all over him early on, and on September 22nd, he and manager Billy Martin got into a famous brawl in a hotel bar in Baltimore. Both men were busted up in the scrap, Whitson didn’t pitch again that season, and Martin was eventually fired after the season ended.