Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Tanaka Backed By Runs, Yanks Beat Pesky Blue Jays

The Yankees reached the halfway point of the season, Game 81, in the opener of a 3-game home series with those pesky Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium II last night. And they got off to a good start. With 1 out in the bottom of the 1st inning, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez singled, and Didi Gregorius walked to load the bases.

Jays starter Marcus Stroman was rattled, and he hit Chase Headley with a pitch, to force home a run. Then he walked Jacoby Ellsbury, to force home another run, before ending the threat by getting Ronald Torreyes to ground into a double play. Still, 2-0 Yankees.

Masahiro Tanaka seems to have gotten straightened out. He was fantastic, going 7 innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits and 1 walk, with 8 strikeouts. Most surprising: Joe Girardi allowed him to throw 111 pitches. Dellin Betances pitched the 8th, allowing a walk but no hits, and stranding the runner.

The Yankees got insurance runs in the 8th. Judge singled, Sanchez doubled, and Gregorius walked to load the bases with nobody out. Headley doubled home Judge and Sanchez. Ellsbury struck out, but Torreyes got Gregorius and Headley home. 6-1 Yankees.

Then Aroldis Chapman decided to launch a few fireworks a night early. He was very shaky in the 9th inning, turning a non-save situation into a situation that was too close for comfort. He did finish it off, though. Yankees 6, Blue Jays 3. WP: Tanaka (7-7). No save. LP: Stroman (8-5).

The Boston Red Sox won, so the Yankees remain 3 games out of 1st place in the American League Eastern Division, 2 in the loss column.

The series continues this afternoon in a holiday matinee -- not a holiday doubleheader as in days of yore. CC Sabathia starts for America's team, J.A. Happ starts for Canada's team. U! S! A!

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