Tanaka goes toe-to-toe with Darvish as 'Toe' delivers walk-off single in extras to give Yankees 2-1 win
Masahiro Tanaka took the mound against the Rangers looking to get back on track. He did just that as he battled his former Japanese league competitor Yu Darvish in their first matchup against each other in the MLB. In a game blown by both bullpens, the Yanks prevailed thanks to Ronald Torreyes’ walk-off single in the 10th.
After a one hour and 42 minute rain delay, Tanaka got off to a nice start with a three pitch strikeout of Shin Soo Choo, with some life on his fastball at 94 miles per hour. Tanaka’s 10.29 ERA in the first inning had been contributing heavily to his woes this season. With a sharp scoreless first inning against the Rangers, Tanaka settled into a groove very quickly. Gary Sanchez ended the inning throwing an absolute bullet to nab Elvis Andrus attempting to steal second.
Brett Gardner led off the bottom of the first with a single up the middle, but the Yanks went down in order after that. Tanaka took his solid stuff back the mound with him in the top half of the second, adding his third strikeout in a 1-2-3 inning. The Yanks would also go three up three down in the bottom half of the second, as the game began shaping up to be a quick pitcher's duel. Tanaka and Darvish had gone head-to-head four times in Japan, and every game had been a pitcher's duel through and though.
A first and second, nobody out threat emerged in the third after a single and a walk issued by Tanaka. However, the threat wouldn’t prevail as Tanaka punched out Gallo for out number one. Ronald Torreyes, in the lineup for Chase Headley, who had an epidural today to help his back spasms, then made an awesome diving stop on a rocket hit by Choo, and Castro was able to turn the double play to get out of the inning.
Through five innings, Tanaka had allowed just two hits while striking out five. However, the Yankees offense hadn’t had a baserunner since the first batter of the game. Sanchez got on with one out in the fifth with a knock to center, but Didi would ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Torreyes made another absolutely spectacular play in the top of the seventh to retire Andrus. A backhand diving stop in a torrential downpour, Toe two-hopped Carter to make the out.
Tanaka, through eight, was absolutely brilliant. The “ace” actually looked like an ace tonight, hurling 100 pitches, 69 for strikes (nice), while scattering just three hits and striking out nine. The only problem was that Yu Darvish was just as terrific. Although the Rangers went to their bullpen in the bottom half of the eighth, Darvish tossed seven innings of two-hit, shutout ball.
Neither pitcher earned a decision, both leaving in a 0-0 ballgame. Aroldis Chapman came on for the Yanks in the ninth. After striking out Choo, Andrus singled, Nomar Mazara was hit by a pitch, and Andrus then stole third. Although Andrus was safe, the play could have gone much worse. Torreyes made a great diving grab to prevent the ball from sailing into the outfield, saving a run on the play.
But, it wouldn’t really matter. The next pitch, Chapman struck out Beltre, and the ball got by Sanchez, allowing Andrus to score on the passed ball, as Sanchez had a rough night behind the dish. Working really slow, it took Chapman 28 pitches to get out of the inning, and the Yanks came to bat in the bottom on the ninth down a run.
After a quick ground out back to the pitcher by Torreyes, the environment seemed dead. Then BAM! Brett Gardner hit yet another clutch homer late in a ballgame to tie the score up at one run apiece. The solo shot was Gardy’s 14th of the season, and it tied the game at one on the huge solo shot. Aaron Judge singled, then Matt Holliday went down on strikes to end the walk-off threat, giving the fans in attendance free baseball in the Bronx!
Chad Green came on in the 10th. A rare error by Didi led to a leadoff base runner. On the play, Carlos Gomez hit a knuckling liner that took an in-between hop and Didi was unable to handle it. After a fielder’s choice, the go ahead run was on second for the bad guys. After a walk to Napoli, Chasen Shreve came on for Chad Green to face the power threat Joey Gallo. He K’d him on a 3-2 count, then proceeded to walk Choo to load the bases for the hot Elvis Andrus. Down in the count 3-1, Shreve battled and got Andrus to pop out to Castro in shallow right.
Castro led off the bottom of the inning with a groundout to short, but El Gary picked him up with a single to put the winning run aboard. Didi followed up with a knock of his own, putting the winning run 90 feet away.
Looking to silence his critics, Chris “Down on Strikes” Carter came to the plate with a chance to silence his critics. The only thing he could do worse than striking out would be to hit into a double play to end the inning. The Rangers played their defense accordingly, but it wouldn’t matter because Carter went down on strikes! Shocking, I know.
The next batter was Toe, whose seemed to come up big all night with his glove. On the first pitch he saw, Torreyes hit a walk-off single by to give the Yankees a 2-1 victory in 10 innings over the Rangers.
The Yanks needed this win badly after the bullpen nearly blew another game. At the end of the day, they were picked up by the smallest guy on the team, and you've got to love that.
Winning Pitcher: Chasen Shreve (2-1, 1.74 ERA): 0.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
Losing Pitcher: Matt Bush (2-3, 3.38 ERA): BS, 1.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 K, 1 HR
Masahiro Tanaka: 8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K
Brett Gardner: 2-4, HR (14), RBI
Ronald Torreyes: 1-4, RBI (walk-off single)
Chris Carter: 0-4, 3 K
Elvis Andrus: 2-5, R
Jonathan Lucroy: 2-4, K
Yu Darvish: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K
Article by: Noah ClementFollow @Rocky_BalNoah Follow @BronxBomberBall