Yankees Back On Top

By BEN WALKER  AP Baseball Writer

 

NEW YORK (AP) _ Masahiro Tanaka took a perfect game into the sixth inning and struck out a career-high 14, pitching the New York Yankees past the Tampa Bay Rays 6-1 Friday night for their fifth straight win.

Brett Gardner hit a leadoff home run, Aaron Judge lined his AL-leading 33rd homer and Clint Frazier added a three-run shot to boost Tanaka (8-9). The Yankees were poised to move past Boston and into the AL East lead for the first time in a month.

On Thursday night, Gardner won the opener of this four-game set between playoff contenders with a homer in the 11th. Judge wound up losing half of his front left tooth in the celebration _ he got a temporary fix earlier in the day.

Tanaka struck out the first five batters, all swinging. He set down 17 in a row before Adeiny Hechavarria grounded a sharp, two-out single up the middle, past diving shortstop Didi Gregorius. Tanaka impassively watched the ball roll into center field and, after a brief ovation from the fans, went back to work.

Tanaka allowed two hits and walked none, and finished up by striking out the side in the eighth. He doffed his hat to the crowd as he walked off the mound, then tipped his cap once more before reaching the dugout. He had been winless in his previous three starts.

Lucas Duda homered in the seventh, a day after Tampa Bay got him a trade with the New York Mets. A veteran of Subway Series matchups at Yankee Stadium in the past, he got booed rounding the bases.

Austin Pruitt (5-2), called up from Triple-A to take the turn of injured Jake Odorizzi, gave up all three homers in five innings. The Rays have lost seven of nine and are 0-5 in the Bronx this year.

Gardner gave the Yankees a fast start with his career-high 19th homer, and fourth leadoff drive of the season. He leaped to bump forearms with Judge on his way back to the dugout.

The previous night, Gardner tossed his helmet as he approached the plate after his walkoff homer. Judge picked up the helmet _ he didn’t want anyone to accidentally step on it. In the jumping and jostling, the helmet got jammed into Judge’s mouth and cracked his tooth.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rays: 1B Logan Morrison was out of the lineup because of a bruised left heel.

Yankees: Closer Aroldis Chapman threw 19 pitches in two innings Thursday night, his longest outing since Game 5 of the World Series for the Cubs last year. Manager Joe Girardi wasn’t sure whether Chapman would be available.

UP NEXT

Rays: LHP Blake Snell (0-6, 4.86 ERA) beat the Yankees twice last year as a rookie. He’s the first Rays pitcher to lose his first six decisions in a season since Edwin Jackson opened 0-8 in 2007.

Yankees: Rookie LHP Caleb Smith (0-1, 8.10) struggled for 3 2/3 innings last weekend in his first major league start, losing at Seattle. He turned 26 on Friday.

 

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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