Masahiro Tanaka pitched a two-hitter and was backed by two homers, as the New York Yankees opened a 10-game homestand with a 3-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night in the opener of a three-game series between the top two teams in the AL East.
Tanaka (5-5) turned in a third straight strong start against the Rays, allowing only a leadoff single to Austin Meadows in the fourth and a two-out single to Willy Adames in the fifth. In three starts this season against Tampa Bay, Tanaka has allowed one run on 10 hits and one walk in 22 innings, with 23 strikeouts.
Tanaka won consecutive starts for the first time this season, on a night in which he retired the first nine hitters. He struck out 10, walked one, threw 76 of 111 pitches for strikes, faced two above the minimum and produced his 14th career double-digit strikeout game.
It was Tanaka's seventh career complete game and fourth career shutout, as well as New York's first complete game since Tanaka fired a three-hit shutout on 105 pitches July 24 in Tampa Bay
Tanaka also had some help from his defense. Third baseman DJ LeMahieu made a nifty over-the-shoulder play to get the force at second on Adames to end the fifth, and catcher Gary Sanchez threw out Meadows trying to steal second to get an inning-ending double play in the sixth as Tanaka fanned Tommy Pham.
LeMahieu and Cameron Maybin went deep for the Yankees, who homered for the 20th straight game. It is the second-longest streak in team history, behind only a 25-game streak from June 1-29, 1941.
LeMahieu hit a two-run homer with two outs in the third off Yonny Chirinos (7-3), and Maybin highlighted a three-hit night by homering for the third straight game to open the fifth.
The Yankees won their third straight and unveiled new acquisition Edwin Encarnacion. Encarnacion batted fifth and was 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
Chirinos allowed three runs on five hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked one.
The Rays lost for the fifth time in their last seven games and also dropped their 14th straight series opener at Yankee Stadium. Tampa Bay also was blanked for the third time this season and fell to 2-5 in the season series with New York.
--Field Level Media