By BEN WALKER AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Masahiro Tanaka gave up a home run to Jose Reyes on the first pitch of the game, then earned his major league-high 11th victory as the New York Yankees beat Toronto 3-1 Tuesday night for their 14th straight home win over the Blue Jays.
Brett Gardner hit a two-run homer off the right-field foul pole and the Yankees sent the AL East leaders to their seventh loss in 10 games.
Tanaka (11-1) struck out 10 in six innings and left with an AL-best 1.99 ERA. The Japanese rookie has made 14 starts this season _ he’s gone at least six innings in every outing and never permitted more than three earned runs.
Tanaka made his big league debut April 4 at Toronto and Melky Cabrera tagged him for a leadoff home run on the third pitch.
Reyes provided an even earlier jolt this time with a drive into the lower deck in right, and slapped his hands as he rounded first.
Cabrera followed with a liner between Tanaka’s legs that knocked off the pitcher’s glove. But Tanaka scrambled to retrieve the ball behind the mound and threw out Cabrera, and never again allowed a runner past second.
Tanaka gave up five hits and walked two in moving ahead of Toronto’s Mark Buehrle for the most wins in the majors. Buehrle starts Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium in the middle game of the three-game series.
The Blue Jays were the second team to face Tanaka twice. He blanked the Chicago Cubs for eight innings in April before they handed him his only loss a month later.
Dellin Betances worked two innings and David Robertson closed for his 17th save in 19 tries. They became the latest pitchers to slow down the Blue Jays, limited to 24 runs in their last 11 games.
Pitching about 50 miles from his Long Island hometown, Blue Jays rookie Marcus Stroman (3-2) threw 98 pitches in 3 2-3 innings on a sticky night. Gardner gave him a workout right away, grounding out in a 12-pitch at-bat to lead off the first.
Kelly Johnson doubled in the third for the Yankees’ first hit and Gardner pulled a go-ahead home run.
Derek Jeter opened the fifth with his second hit of the game and scored his 1,900th run on a single by Mark Teixeira. Jeter is 10th on the career runs list, 19 behind longtime teammate Alex Rodriguez.
NOTES: The Blue Jays’ drought at Yankee Stadium started in August 2012, and they’ve dropped 23 of their last 25 in the Bronx. … Tanaka has fanned at least 10 in five starts. … Joe Girardi became the sixth manager to win 600 games with the Yankees. … Reyes hit his 20th career leadoff homer, and second this year. … Cabrera has a 17-game hitting streak vs. the Yankees, his former team. … Toronto RHP R.A. Dickey is fine to make his next start Friday night in Cincinnati, manager John Gibbons said. The knuckleballer made an early exit Saturday in Baltimore because of groin tightness. … Yankees 2B Brian Roberts started after missing two games with a bruised right knee. … Yankees LHP CC Sabathia (knee) threw a bullpen session Sunday and is set for another one Tuesday. “No setbacks,” he said. Sabathia had hoped to return by the All-Star break, but Girardi said there’s no timeframe. … There was a pregame moment of silence for Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, who died Monday.
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