Tanaka outduels Sale, throws second career shutout as Yanks beat Sox 3-0

Tonight the Yankees wrapped up what is now a two game series (thanks to the rainout on Tuesday) against the Red Sox at Fenway. They were able to take the first game last night by a score of 3-1, as Aaron Judge celebrated his 25th birthday with a home run and Luis Severino dominated for seven innings. The Yanks are now 11-3 in their last 14 games, and hoped to continue that momentum tonight behind Masahiro Tanaka (2-1, 6.00 ERA). Chris Sale (1-1, 0.91 ERA) made his first start against the Yanks for his new club.
Picture Credit: Elise Amendola of AP

The game started exactly how you’d expect a Chris Sale vs. the Yankees game to start; a three pitch strikeout of Jacoby Ellsbury and a four pitch strikeout of Aaron Hicks. They didn’t really stand a chance. Masahiro Tanaka matched zeroes, however, and looked pretty solid in the first inning.

Sale ALMOST made it through the Yankees lineup without giving up a baserunner. After striking out six of the first eight batters he faced, Ronald Torreyes grounded a ball in the hole between third and shortstop that Xander Bogaerts knocked down but couldn’t make the throw. Sale then struck out Ellsbury again to end the third inning.

The top of the fourth inning was when things began to happen. Aaron Hicks lead off with an opposite field single, and then moved to second on a Chase Headley ground ball that bounced off of Sale’s glove. The Yanks caught a break with this, because if Sale hadn’t knocked the ball down, the Red Sox most likely would’ve been able to turn a double play. Hicks then moved to third on a passed ball. Matt Holliday worked a fantastic ten pitch at bat against Sale, getting to a full count and fouling off four pitches before hitting a fly ball to left field. Hicks scored, and the Yankees were able to take a 1-0 lead. Tanaka was then able to shut down the Red Sox in the bottom of the fourth, picking up a strikeout of Andrew Benintendi along the way.

The Yanks almost pulled off the same exact scoring play in the top of the sixth. Ronald Torreyes led off with his second single (!!) off of Sale, and moved to second on a perfect sacrifice bunt by Ellsbury. Toe then moved to third on a grounder to first from Hicks, but any hopes of scoring were dashed when Headley popped into foul territory and Mookie Betts made a running basket catch to end the inning. Oh well. Yanks took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth, where Tanaka AGAIN shut down the Red Sox, striking out Marco Hernandez and Dustin Pedroia.

Sale entered the ninth with 103 pitches, and automatically gave up back to back singles to Hicks and Headley. I was certain he would be pulled after this, but John Farrell left him in, which was a mistake. Matt Holliday smashed the first pitch he saw down the left field line for an RBI double, giving the Yankees a 2-0 lead and some much needed insurance. Man, did Holliday need that. Heath Hembree then came in to relieve Sale, and gave up an RBI single to Starlin Castro. Aaron Judge fouled out and Chris Carter grounded into a double play to end the inning, but the damage was done.

Tanaka came back out for the bottom of the ninth inning with just 88 pitches. He then retired Hernandez, Dustin Pedroia, and Benintendi on groundouts to end it. What an absolute gem by the Yankees ace. He finished with just 97 pitches, and 15 groundouts. Remember when everyone said he was broken after Opening Day?

Sale’s final line of eight innings, eight hits, three runs (two earned) and ten strikeouts with zero walks doesn’t even do him justice. He was absolutely filthy, and just got tired in the ninth. The Red Sox just couldn’t score him any runs, which has been a trend this year. He’s only gotten four runs of support in his five starts so far in 2017. However, Tanaka was just better. Even though he didn’t have many strikeouts, the Red Sox looked lost. They had no idea how to hit him.

The Yankees return to Yankee Stadium tomorrow night to begin six game homestand, starting with a weekend three game set with the first place Orioles. Didi Gregorius is expected to be back and playing tomorrow night, so that’s something to look forward to. C.C. Sabathia gets the ball against Kevin Gausman. The game will be on YES.

Winning Pitcher: Masahiro Tanaka (3-1, 4.20 ERA): 9 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K
Losing Pitcher: Chris Sale (1-2, 1.19 ERA): 8.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 10 K
Aaron Hicks: 2-4, R, K
Matt Holliday: 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI, SAC Fly, K
Starlin Castro: 2-4, RBI, K
Ronald Torreyes: 2-3
Hanley Ramirez: 2-3

Article by: Alex Weir
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