Japan's Tanaka fans career-best 15 batters

Masahiro Tanaka of the New York Yankees pitches during the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays, at Yankee Stadium in New York, on September 29, 2017 (AFP Photo/Abbie Parr) (GETTY/AFP)

Japan's Masahiro Tanaka struck out a career-high 15 batters in seven sterling innings as the New York Yankees shut out the Toronto Blue Jays 4-0 on Friday at Yankee Stadium.

In his final start of the Major League Baseball season, Tanaka delivered the best start in his four years with the Yankees.

The Yankees, who have two games left in the regular season, have already locked up a wild-card spot.

Tanaka joined Washington's Stephen Strasburg as the second pitcher to notch 15 strikeouts in a game this season.

Tanaka finished the year with a 13-12 mark and a 4.74 ERA -- his highest ERA in any of his 11 professional seasons in Japanese and American baseball.

"There were a lot of ups and downs this season," Tanaka said. "I really want to take this year as sort of a learning process. Hopefully in the future when I look back, I can look back at this year as a year with a lot of struggles that I could learn from."

A week after allowing three homers in an 8-1 loss at Toronto, Tanaka rebounded nicely by recording his 12th career double-digit strikeout game and fifth this season.

The right-hander retired the first 14 hitters on 65 pitches, allowing singles to Ezequiel Carrera and Ryan Goins and a double to Josh Donaldson. He constantly used his splitter to surpass his previous career best of 14 strikeouts set July 28 against the Tampa Bay Rays.