After dropping the first two to the Mets in the Bronx, the Yankees finally broke their six-game losing streak against their crosstown rivals (dating back to last year) as Masahiro Tanaka thoroughly dominated tonight's game. Tanaka notched his first complete game shutout in the majors, giving up just four hits while striking out eight and walking none. After the first inning when the Mets smoked a few balls that happened to go straight to Yankee outfielders, Tanaka was on, and when he's dealing like was tonight, he's simply one of the best pitchers in the league.
After a scoreless first inning, the Yankees got on the board in the second. Yangervis Solarte worked a walk, and then scored as Brian Roberts ripped a triple to left. While Robert's certainly hit the ball well, he got a lot of help from the Mets defense, as Mets leftfielder Eric Young Jr. dove for Robert's dying liner and caught nothing but air. The ball rolled untouched past him all the way to the wall, and by the time the Mets got it in to the infield Roberts was standing on third.
Tanaka found a groove quickly, at one point retiring 11 straight batters, and the Mets never really threatened during the first half of the game. In the fourth, the Yankees tacked on another run. After Mets rookie Rafeal Montero retired McCann and Soriano, Solarte absolutely destroyed a 3-1 fastball, ripping a line drive over Curtis Granderson's head and over the right field wall for a solo home run, making it 2-0 Yankees. Roberts followed this up with his second triple of the night, but sadly, Tanaka couldn't knock Roberts in (I mean, Tanaka can't do everything, can he?).
In the sixth, the Yankees made it 3-0 as Mark Teixeira hit a towering home run, continuing his hot hitting of late. This marked Tex's eight homer of the year, and his fifth so far in the month of May. While he might not be the player he once was, the 30 home run, 100 RBI campaign he said he expected from himself during spring training might not be completely out of reach.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Mets had their best chance to score. Tanaka retired the bottom two hitters of the Mets lineup before Young Jr. hit a two-out double. With Daniel Murphy at the plate and David Wright on deck, the Mets had to score one here to really get back in the game. Luckily, Tanaka was dealing, and he induced a chopper to first from Murphy that Teixeira easily handled.
In the seventh, the Yankees added one more run. With two outs in the inning, Brett Gardner hit a broken bat infield single to second. While he waited way too long to steal, he eventually stole second, and then, after Mets catcher Anthony Recker mishandled a low pitch from reliever Carlos Torres, Gardner stole third without a throw. Derek Jeter then beat out a slow roller back to the mound, and Gardner sprinted home, making it 4-0 Yankees after seven.
From there on, it was all Tanaka. He even picked up his first big league hit in the top of the ninth with a single up the middle before returning to the mound in the bottom half of the inning and finishing off the Mets (although, after Jeter dropped a throw that should've led to a game-ending double play, it was a bit more tense than it should've been). Still, Tanaka pitched terrifically, and once he got a little bit of run support, it almost seemed like a foregone conclusion. He clearly gets more comfortable as he gets deeper into games, and he looked absolutely dominant after the second inning this evening.
Rookie Rafael Montero pitched well for the Mets tonight (even striking out the Captain for his first big league K), but unfortunately, he was up against Tanaka, who mowed down a rather anemic-looking Mets lineup. Hopefully this is the start of winning streak. Tomorrow's game will match up two rookies in their first big league starts, as the Yankees' Chase Whitley will match up against the Mets Jacob deGrom.