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Yankees 7, Angels 0: Masahiro Tanaka strikes out a season-high nine batters

Tanaka is good

New York Yankees v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

If the Yankees want to stay within reach of making the postseason, they have to take advantage of weaker teams, and they were able to do so tonight. Masahiro Tanaka pitched a gem, taking a perfect game into the fourth inning. The offense also did their part by hitting a whopping four home runs off of Jered Weaver. Tanaka wasn’t able to stay in to complete the game, but the bullpen was able to keep the shutout intact as the Yankees went on to win the opening game of this series.

Wasting no time at all, Jacoby Ellsbury deposited the third pitch of the night into right field, giving the Yankees a quick lead. In the third inning, Ronald Torreyes hit a leadoff double, then Ellsbury drove in the run with an RBI single. The Yankees really cracked the game wide open in the fifth inning when Torreyes began the inning by hitting the first home run of his career into the Angels’ bullpen to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead. With one out, Didi Gregorius launched another home run. Gary Sanchez followed with a double, but was thrown out at third base. Down to their final out of the inning, Brian McCann also homered to right field. The Angels wisely decided to remove Weaver after that, and Mike Morin was able to get Starlin Castro to ground out to end t

The Yankees tacked on two more runs in the sixth inning after Aaron Hicks singled, and Torreyes hit an RBI single. Ellsbury followed with a two-out blooper, and Gregorius drove in the run with a ground rule double. It was a good night for Sanchez (other than getting thrown out at third), who went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a single. It was the opposite kind of night for Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin, who ended the night 0-for-9.

This was probably Tanaka’s best outing of the year. Not only did he strikeout nine batters, but he didn’t give up a hit until the fourth inning, and finished the night having given up just five total hits. Tanaka did not walk a batter all night. It looked like he might be headed towards his first complete game of the season, but he gave up two singles in the eighth inning and Joe Girardi lifted Tanaka in favor of Tommy Layne. With two outs, Layne walked Kole Calhoun to load the bases and Girardi had seen enough. Adam Warren came in to face Mike Trout and was able to get the strikeout to end the inning. Kirby Yates finished up the game with a strikeout in the ninth inning.

Tomorrow’s game starts at 9:35 pm EST, so it will be another late night. Luis Cessa is set to make his first Major League start against Ricky Nolasco.