NEW YORK – Once Masahiro Tanaka overcame that early jolt from Jose Reyes, the rookie did just fine.
Tanaka gave up a home run to Reyes on the first pitch of the game, then earned his major league-high 11th victory as the New York Yankees beat Toronto 3-1 Tuesday night for their 14th straight home win over the Blue Jays.
That was the first time Tanaka could remember getting tagged so quickly and said it “threw me off my rhythm a little bit.
“Overall, I think my stuff wasn’t really there,” he said through a translator.
Even so, Tanaka (11-1) struck out 10 in six innings and left with an AL-best 1.99 ERA. The right-hander has made 14 starts this season — he’s gone at least six innings in every outing and never permitted more than three earned runs.
“What he’s done is remarkable,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He wins.”
Brett Gardner hit a two-run homer off the right-field foul pole and the Yankees sent the AL East leaders to their seventh loss in 10 games.
Tanaka made his big league debut April 4 at Toronto and Melky Cabrera hit a leadoff home run on the third pitch.
Reyes provided an even faster start with a drive into the lower deck in right, and slapped his hands as he rounded first.
“I made up my mind before the game that I was going to swing at the first pitch,” he said. “You don’t want to face Tanaka with two strikes.”
Said Girardi: “He just threw a pitch right down the middle and up. Reyes knew what to do.
“Reyes is familiar with this ballpark,” he said. “He went to the short part of the park.”
Cabrera followed with a liner between Tanaka’s legs that knocked off the pitcher’s glove. But Tanaka scrambled to retrieve the ball behind the mound and threw out Cabrera, and never again allowed a runner past second.
Tanaka gave up five hits and walked two in moving ahead of Toronto’s Mark Buehrle for the most wins in the majors. Buehrle starts Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium in the middle game of the three-game series.
The Blue Jays were the second team to face Tanaka twice. He blanked the Chicago Cubs for eight innings in April before they handed him his only loss a month later.
Dellin Betances worked two innings and David Robertson closed for his 17th save in 19 tries. New York pitchers combined for 15 strikeouts and became the latest staff to slow down the Blue Jays, limited to 24 runs in their last 11 games.
New York’s Ichiro Suzuki finished 1-for-4, while Toronto’s Munenori Kawasaki, who was promoted to the majors from Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday for the second time this season, went 1-for-4 with a triple.
Kawasaki was promoted once on April 15 but sent back down to the minors just four days later with the activation of Reyes from the disabled list.
Kawasaki, who had previously appeared in 96 games for Toronto and gained popularity for his dynamic play, has batted .276 in 44 games with Triple-A Buffalo this season.
Athletics 10, Rangers 6
In Oakland, Derek Norris homered and drove in five runs, Stephen Vogt was 3-for-3 with two RBIs and the A’s held off Texas for its third win in four games.
Yu Darvish (7-3) lost his eighth straight to the A’s and the Rangers lost for just the second time in six games. Darvish allowed seven runs — four earned — and eight hits over 5-plus innings. He walked five and struck out eight, including Brandon Moss in the first for career strikeout 600.
Royals 11, Tigers 4
In Detroit, Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas homered as part of a seven-run second inning, and Kansas City took over first place in the AL Central with its ninth straight victory.
Royals outfielder Norichika Aoki left the game early with groin discomfort.
Aoki singled and scored during Kansas City’s seven-run second inning, but he was replaced in right field by Lorenzo Cain before the bottom half.
Red Sox 2, Twins 1
In Boston, Brock Holt scored both Red Sox runs, and Jon Lester weathered a shaky start and pitched six-plus strong innings as Boston held off Minnesota.
Angels 9, Indians 3
In Cleveland, Mike Trout homered twice and drove in four runs, and rookie Matt Shoemaker remained unbeaten as a starter.
Orioles 7, Rays 5
In St. Petersburg, Florida, Chris Davis hit a replay-delayed grand slam for Baltimore.
Phillies 5, Braves 2
In Atlanta, Ryan Howard homered, and Kyle Kendrick won consecutive starts for the first time in 11 months.
Brewers 7, Diamondbacks 5
In Phoenix, Jonathan Lucroy homered twice for Milwaukee, including a grand slam.
Marlins 6, Cubs 5
In Miami, Garrett Jones hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning in the Marlins’ victory over Chicago.
Reds 6, Pirates 5
In Pittsburgh, Todd Frazier led off the ninth inning with a tiebreaking homer.
Dodgers 4, Rockies 2
In Los Angeles, Hanley Ramirez homered before leaving with a hand injury.
Cardinals 5, Mets 2
In St. Louis, Michael Wacha escaped a pair of jams as the Cardinals won for the eighth time in nine games.
The Mets’ Daisuke Matsuzaka worked a scoreless seventh inning in relief of starter Jonathon Niese.
Mariners 6, Padres 1
In Seattle, Robinson Cano hit a two-run homer, and Jesus Montero got his first big league homer in more than a year.
Nationals 6 Astros 5
In Washington, Anthony Rendon doubled twice and drove in three runs.
White Sox 8, Giants 2
In Chicago, Gordon Beckham and Dayan Viciedo hit two-run home runs.