After a really rough stretch, the Masahiro Tanaka we have seen the last two times out is the Tanaka that Yankees’ fans are hoping to see in October.
The Yanks assured a winning season with win #82. Their last non-winning season was in 1992. 27 years ago. An impressive stretch, but still a long ways away from the stretch of 1925 to 1965 without a losing season.
Since 1925, the only times the Yankees have had a losing season were 1965-1967, 1969, 1973, 1982, and 1989-1992, with the worst year being 1990.
Only ten losing seasons in 94 years. Not bad. Not bad at all.
At 82-42, the Yanks now have a 10 1/2 game lead over Tampa Bay in the AL East and the magic # for clinching the division outright (barring any tiebreaker scenario) is down to 29.
The Yanks scored first, getting two in the bottom of the first. With one out, Aaron Judge and Gio Urshela singled. After a force out, putting runners on first and third with two out, Gary Sanchez singled for one run and Gleyber Torres singled for another.
Tanaka gave up a solo HR in the top of the second that cut the Yanks’ lead to 2-1.
In the bottom of the second, Yasier Puig threw out Cameron Maybin at the plate to keep another Yankees’ run from scoring. This would make the Yanks justifiably gun-shy of Puig’s cannon the rest of the game. I’ll get to that in a minute.
With two out in the fifth, Aaron Judge doubled, and Gio Urshela singled. Judge was going to be held at third (Puig’s arm) but Puig bobbled the ball for an error, enabling Judge to score. It turned out to be the decisive play in the game.
Tanaka gave up a solo HR to Puig in the seventh. 3-2 Yanks. Tommy Kahnle came in with a man on second, one out, and got two strikeouts to maintain the Yankees’ lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Yanks loaded the bases with no one out but couldn’t score. Two balls were hit to Puig but were too shallow for D.J. LeMahieu to score. Puig’s arm would have been too much.
Having wasted a huge scoring opportunity like that, I feared the worst. But the Yanks held on.
They held on because of Brett Gardner. With a man on second and one out in the top of the eighth, Gardner made a fine running catch to rob Cleveland of a double and the tying run. It saved the game.
Before the game, Chance Adams was sent down and recently acquired Ryan Dull was added.
Judge 2 hits.
Urshela 3 hits, .342. If he qualifies for the batting title, his .342 tops D.J. LeMahieu .337.
Tanaka (W, 9-6, 4.56) 6 1/3 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 0 W, 2 K. Gave up 2 HR.
Kahnle (H, 22) 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K. 2.88
Britton (H, 26) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. 2.13
Chapman (S, 34) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 2 K. 2.40