NEW YORK: Masahiro Tanaka struck out 10 over six innings yesterday to earn a Major League Baseball-leading 11th win as the New York Yankees beat Toronto 3-1.
Japanese ace Tanaka, who improved to 11-1 for the season, shook off a solo homer by Jose Reyes on the game’s first pitch, and didn’t allow another runner to reach third base.
He lowered his American League-leading earned run average to 1.99.
The Yankees offense offered run support in the shape of Brett Gardner’s two-run homer off Marcus Stroman in the third inning as New York continued their home dominance of the Blue Jays in the first game of a three-game series.
Derek Jeter and Kelly Johnson each had two hits and a run scored to help the Yankees snap a two-game skid.
Reyes’ game-opening blast into the right-field seats turned out to be Toronto’s only offensive highlight. Tanaka, who inked a seven-year Yankees deal worth $155 million in January in a move from Japan’s Rakuten Eagles, looked incredulous when Reyes deposited his first pitch over the wall.
Five of the next 12 Blue Jays batters reached base, but Tanaka wouldn’t give in. He needed 38 pitches to get through two innings but found his rhythm and retired six of the last seven batters he faced.
The Blue Jays mustered only three hits after the first inning against Tanaka and relievers Dellin Betances and David Robertson.
Blue Jays hitters struck out a total of 15 times on the way to their 14th straight defeat at Yankee Stadium. Meanwhile, the Oakland Athletics beat Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish for the eighth consecutive time, rolling to a victory.
A’s catcher Derek Norris slugged his fourth career pinch hit home run, a three-run blast in the sixth inning off reliever Shawn Tolleson, then added a two-run double in the eighth off Jason Frasor.
Darvish (7-3) allowed seven runs to Oakland (43-28), four of them earned, on eight hits over five innings.
Milwaukee catcher Jonathan Lucroy hit a grand slam one pitch after Ryan Braun was hit by a pitch, capping a five-run seventh inning in the Brewers’ victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Lucroy’s second homer of the game and third career slam came after Arizona reliever Evan Marshall (2-2) was ejected for plunking right fielder Braun in the side with the second pitch of the at-bat. Marshall’s first pitched sailed behind Braun.
Lucroy had three hits and five RBIs for the Brewers (43-29), who have won five of their last seven.
Hanley Ramirez, Matt Kemp and Carlos Triunfel homered to guide the Los Angeles Dodgers to a victory over the Colorado Rockies.
Pitcher Zack Greinke produced another strong outing as the Dodgers (39-34) captured their fourth win in five games. The Rockies (34-37) dropped their second in a row.
Greinke (9-3) gave up a run on six hits, with five strikeouts and two walks, in six innings.AFP