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Yanks ace Tanaka collects MLB-leading 12th victory

Kyodo, AP

Masahiro Tanaka got some overdue run support on Thursday to break his personal two-game losing streak, going seven innings in the New York Yankees’ 7-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

Tanaka (12-3) allowed four runs, all earned, on nine hits at Minneapolis’ Target Field. He struck out three without a walk. He took over the major league lead in wins as New York snapped a five-game losing streak.

The game also snapped Tanaka’s streak of 16 quality starts — games of six or more innings and three or fewer earned runs — in the majors. He finished his career with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles with 34 straight regular-season quality starts.

“If you don’t give up runs, it doesn’t matter how many hits you give up,” said Tanaka, who did not have much movement on his pitches and gave up a lot of hard-hit balls.

“Four runs is way too many. I didn’t pitch well at all but the team won. That’s the important thing. I wasn’t able to keep it (the quality-start streak) going, but there will be days when you win like today. That’s baseball. It’s no big deal.”

Leading by a run in the third, the Twins had runners on the corners with no outs but managed only a run when second baseman Brendan Ryan dropped a low liner and had to settle for a force at first. Tanaka, a three-time Pacific League Golden Glove winner, turned in a sharp play to cut down the lead runner on the next play and got another grounder to end the inning.

Carlos Beltran overturned the two-run deficit with a three-run homer off former Yankee Phil Hughes (8-5), who had held New York to a single over the first four innings.

The Yankees had scored just one run in Tanaka’s two previous starts, when he allowed five runs combined over 16 innings and lost both games.

Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann singled to open the fifth for New York and Beltran, who has been playing with a bone spur in his right elbow, tattooed a 1-0 fastball that missed in the heart of the zone and drove it over the high wall in right-center.

Two batters later, Zealous Wheeler made a party out of his long-awaited major league debut with a solo homer. Wheeler, who was called up after seven-plus seasons in the minors, went 2-for-4 and scored twice.

Ichiro Suzuki had the Yankees’ first hit, a leadoff single in the third, and went 2-for-3. He had a walk and a run scored in a three-run seventh.

Athletics 4, Blue Jays 1

In Oakland, Sonny Gray allowed four hits over seven innings to bounce back from his worst start of the season for the hosts against Toronto.

Gray (8-3) walked three, struck out five and got some help from Oakland’s defense, which turned three double plays.

For the Blue Jays, Munenori Kawasaki was 0-for-1 with two walks.

Tigers 8, Rays 1

In Detroit, Max Scherzer (10-3) allowed two hits in eight outstanding innings, and the Tigers backed their star right-hander with three early homers.

Ian Kinsler, Victor Martinez and Torii Hunter all went deep as part of a five-run first inning for AL Central-leading Detroit, which snapped Tampa Bay’s five-game winning streak its 12th victory in 14 games.

The Tigers lead second-place Kansas City by five games.

Angels 5, Astros 2

In Anaheim, David Freese hit a two-run double, Matt Shoemaker pitched in and out of trouble for six innings, and Los Angeles won the opener of a four-game series.

Orioles 5, Rangers 2

In Baltimore, Steve Pearce had a career-high four hits and drove in two runs, and Chen Wei-yin shut down Texas again as the Orioles completed a four-game sweep.

Chen (8-3) allowed two runs and six hits with four strikeouts and two walks in six innings. He is 4-0 in four starts against Texas with a 1.67 ERA.