The Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 6–1, for their fifth consecutive win
On Wednesday night, at Yankee Stadium, dominant pitching by Masahiro Tanaka and an outfield that produced five of the six runs led the Yankees to a 6–1 victory over the surprising Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees have won eight of their last 10 games to move half a game ahead of the Red Sox for first place in the AL East.
As a result of last night’s win, the Yankees are tied with four other teams for most wins at home (30) this season, and their 30–17 record is the third best home record in all of baseball.
Brett Gardner hit a solo homer to leadoff the game in the first inning. That was his career-high 19th homer of the season, and the Yankees are now 16–0 when Gardner homers in a game this season.
Soon to be Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge hit a solo in the fourth inning. That was his 33rd homer of the season, which tied him with Giancarlo Stanton for most in all of baseball. Judge has three more homers than Mike Moustakas, who is in second place in the American League, and Judge has 14 homers than the next closest Yankee (Gardner).
Clint Frazier hit a 455-foot three-run homer with his legendary bat speed to the Panasonic sign above the bullpen in left center to make the score 5–0. Frazier easily sent that ball from Rays starter Austin Pruitt into the stands for his fourth homer and 16th RBI in only his 20th game. This was the fifth longest homer that a Yankee had hit this season.
“I have been tweaking my set up a couple times,” Frazier said. “I have been overall been feeling pretty good. It is going to be fun going the rest of the season with these guys.”
Masahiro Tanaka had a no-hitter through two outs in the sixth inning. Adeiny Hechavarria hit a hard grounder beyond the reach of Didi Gregorius for a single. However, Tanaka struck out leadoff hitter Malex Smith swinging on a slider for his 10th strikeout through six innings.
“It was total dominance,” Frazier said. “That’s the reason we won the game.”
If Tanaka can continue to have similar results that he had on Friday night that will greatly increase the team’s chance of winning the division.
Tanaka struck out the side in the first and 8th. He struck out Tim Beckham on an 89 mph fastball after Beckham had fouled off many pitches. Tanaka finished eight innings with a career-high 14 strikeouts while only allowing two hits and was truly firing on all cylinders.
“I have not been pitching that well against this team especially this season. I think my slider was working really well in particular. It was a good game.
“It means that I got a lot of swings and misses. I am happy about that,” Tanaka said in reference to getting his career-high 14 strikeouts.
According to Rays manager Kevin Cash, Tanaka painted the bottom of the zone a lot more in this start than he did in his two previous starts against the Rays when he struggled.
In his first two starts against the Rays he totaled 5.2 innings pitched and 13 earned runs, 17 hits and five homers. Tanaka was able to lower his ERA from 5.37 to 5.09 after this dominant start.
This was an impressive performance for Tanaka in many ways. He truly pitched like an ace tonight after allowing at least four earned runs in two of his last three starts. Tanaka was the team’s ace in his first three seasons with the team but hasn’t pitched to that success so far this season.
“He had really good control of his fastball, slider and his split,” Joe Girardi said. “He had good movement and that was the key. His last six or seven starts have been pretty good and that is encouraging.”
Coming into this game, the Rays had hit the third most homers in the American League, had the fifth most RBI and the 8th most runs scored. This was a big time pitching performance against a team that has done better than expected this season.
Lucas Duda hit a deep homer with two outs in the 7th above the Lays sign in the second deck near the foul pole in right. Duda, who was recently traded from the Mets to the Rays, hit his 18th homer of the season. That was the 27th homer that Tanaka had allowed this season.
Gregorius picked up a single between short and third in the 8th to drive in the team’s sixth run. With that single, the shortstop was able to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. He has been on fire during his hitting streak with 18 hits in 38 at-bats (.474) with five homers and nine RBI.
David Robertson retired the first batter in two pitches and then struck out the second batter in three pitches. He then got Corey Dickerson to fly out on the first pitch he saw. Robertson could not have done any better in the 9th, and since being traded back to the Yankees before the game on July 21, he has pitched five innings and allowed one hit and one run.