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Yankees 5, Athletics 1: Tanaka goes seven in fourth straight win

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Masahiro Tanaka went seven strong to help extend the Yankees' winning streak to four.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees kept the good times rolling, defeating the Athletics 5-1 for their fourth straight win. Masahiro Tanaka, coming off his two worst starts of the season, tossed seven solid innings to pace New York. The win moved the Yankees to within two games of .500 at 20-22.

Sean Manaea, Oakland's rookie southpaw, worked through the Yankees' order quickly at first, setting the first nine batters down in order on just 33 pitches. He had problems in the fourth, loading the bases on two walks and an infield single. Carlos Beltran continued his strong recent play with an RBI single to score Jacoby Ellsbury, and Aaron Hicks brought home Starlin Castro with a sacrifice fly.

Rob Refsnyder then reintroduced himself to the big leagues with some style. Refsnyder, in the starting lineup to face the opposing lefty on the mound, sent a long fly ball to deep right-center on the tenth pitch of his at-bat. It was good for a double, a pair of RBI, and a 4-0 lead. Welcome back to the majors, Ref:

Tanaka worked efficiently until running into trouble in the bottom of the fifth. The A's loaded the bases on a pair of walks and a single before scoring their first run of the game on a Danny Valencia sacrifice fly. Tanaka kept the damage at a minimum, blowing a rare four-seam fastball right past Khris Davis for an inning ending strikeout. At 93 mph, it was Tanaka's fastest pitch of the day.

The Yankees managed to chase Manaea in the top of the seventh. Castro doubled down the left field line for his third hit, driving home Ronald Torreyes for a 5-1 lead. Manaea ended up allowing five runs across 6.2 innings. He struck out four and walked two.

Tanaka set down the last seven batters he faced to end his day. He went seven innings, allowing just the lone run, while striking out four and walking two. Tanaka didn't appear to have his best swing-and-miss stuff, notching only three swinging strikeouts, but it was nonetheless a strong bounce back start after a pair of rough outings. He worked effectively and economically, throwing only 92 pitches, 64 of them strikes. He lowered his season ERA to 3.24 in the process.

Nick Goody came on to finish out the game, tossing a pair of scoreless innings. The Yankees managed to avoid using any member of the bullpen's big three, affording Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, and Dellin Betances each a second straight day of rest. Prior to those two days, Joe Girardi had employed all of his ace relievers in two consecutive games.

It was a fairly straightforward victory for New York. The Yankees had their best starter on the mound, and in Manaea were facing an unseasoned rookie. They got the job done in a game they looked likely to win, and in doing so continued their season-best winning streak. Tomorrow, they will send Michael Pineda to the mound in search of a fifth straight win. Here's hoping they find it.