It was certainly “Tanaka Time” tonight at Angel Stadium in Anaheim in the first game of the weekend series. Masahiro Tanaka threw 100 pitches just shy of 8 full innings, giving up just 5 hits and striking out 9 Angels’ batters. He was running a bit of a no-hitter, getting 11 straight outs into the 4th inning. Actually, the 4th inning was rather traumatic when the lead-off batter attempted to bunt and fouled the ball right into his own face. X-rays were negative, but I can’t imagine he’s going to be too comfortable any time soon.
Anyway, Tanaka gave up a couple of singles in the 4th before getting another 7 straight outs through the 6th. A single to lead off the 7th and suddenly he was back in the groove for 4 more outs. And then he was coming to the end of his time tonight. With 2 outs and runners on the corners with singles, the Yankee starter was out.
Layne came on but walked the batter to load up the bases (the only walk allowed by a Yankee pitcher tonight) before handing the ball off to Adam Warren for a 6-pitch strikeout to end the only threat from the Angels all night. Yates breezed his way through the 9th inning to close out the game and hand Tanaka his 10th win of the season.
The Angels’ pitching staff had a bit of worse luck against the Yankees’ batters. Jacoby Ellsbury kicked off the game with a solo home run to start the Yankees’ runs tonight. In the 3rd, Ronald Torreyes doubled and then scored on Ellsbury’s single.
And then it was the big 5th inning. Ronald Torreyes led off the inning with his first MLB home run, a big one out to the left field seats. Didi Gregorius added another run via his 1-out solo shot to the corner right field seats. Then Gary Sanchez knocked a really nice deep hit that bounced off the right-center field wall, so he rounded 2nd and was thrown out in the relay at 3rd; it was recorded as a double but an out at 3rd. But then Brian McCann capped off the 5th inning run rally with his own solo homer over and out to right field.
That kicked the starter out of the game and shifted things at first for the Yankees, but they weren’t done. In the 6th, with 2 outs and Hicks on 2nd, Hicks scored on Torreyes’ single. Ellsbury’s single forced that reliever out of the game, and the new pitcher promptly gave up a ground-rule double to Gregorius who scored Torreyes and put runners in scoring position. A walk to Sanchez loaded the bases, but the new pitcher buckled down and stopped the Yankees at lucky number 7 for the runs.
Other amazing numbers from tonight: 11 total strike outs by Yankee pitchers, 15 total hits by Yankee batters, and #17. Ronald Torreyes wears #17, and tonight, he went 4-for-4, with 3 runs scored and 2 RBIs.
Final score: 7-0 Yankees.
Roster news: Chase Headley was out of the game tonight (ceding his fielding position to the amazing Torreyes tonight) with Achilles’ tendinitis. With yesterday as an off-day and being off tonight, the Yankees are hoping that will help with healing. And Nathan Eovaldi had the Tommy John surgery today in New York with a surgical team headed by team doctor Dr. Ahmad. Because it is his 2nd in his life, the healing and rehab might take a bit longer, an estimated 18 months taking him deep into the 2017 season before resuming baseball activities and working his way back up to the big league level.
The Yankees continue their West Coast trip this weekend with the Angels before heading up the coast to Seattle. They are looking to take advantage of both teams’ lower position in the standings to boost their own and make that big push for the postseason, even if it’s one of the Wild Card spots. And until that ultimate elimination number and they still have a chance, they’re going for it with gusto, boosted by the likes of the Baby Bombers that now also include Torreyes apparently.