NEW YORK – Masahiro Tanaka claimed his seventh win of the season and 170th of his career, between Japan and North America, as the New York Yankees beat the Colorado Rockies 11-5 on Saturday.
Tanaka (7-5) pitched five scoreless innings at Yankee Stadium as the hosts built a nine-run lead without a single homer. He yielded five runs in the sixth before his exit, but the Yankees’ bullpen maintained the club’s lead for its fifth straight win.
“I was perfect through the fifth,” Tanaka said. “There’s really been a lot of that this season, everything falling apart in one inning.”
The 30-year-old retired 15 of the first 17 batters he faced, but lost command in the sixth when he gave up five hits, including a three-run shot to Nolan Arenado, while issuing a walk.
The right-hander left the mound with New York leading 9-5 thanks to a Yankees lineup that recorded 14 hits. Half of those came against Rockies starter Antonio Senzatela (8-7) before his early exit in the second.
Tanaka, who began his career in 2007 with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in NPB, said he was taken aback by the number of wins he has amassed over 13 seasons in Japan and the majors. “When you hear the number 170, you get the impression of winning so much,” he said. Tanaka was 99-35 in seven seasons in Japan.
He made his major league debut with the Yankees in 2014 after a perfect 24-0 regular season in Japan. He has a 4.00 ERA with 98 strikeouts across 117 innings in 20 starts this year.
Saturday’s game was a tripleheader of hot at Yankee Stadium.
First was the actual temperature: 94 degrees (34 Celsius) at game time, the highest for New York this season.
Next was the offense, which torched Colorado pitching for the second straight day.
Then came tempers.
New York’s Luke Voit got hit on the chin by Chad Bettis in the fourth inning and Yankees catcher Austin Romine was buzzed by a pair of up-and-in pitches from Jairo Diaz in the eighth.
“That was some dangerous stuff going on up by the face,” Romine said.
New York went ahead when Aaron Judge doubled in a run on Senzatela’s 10th pitch, Edwin Encarnacion chased the 24-year-old right-hander with a two-run double in a five-run second and the Yankees gave Tanaka a 9-0 lead by the fourth.
Encarnacion added an RBI single in the seventh as the Yankees reached double digits in runs for the 13th time this year. He has 21 RBIs in 24 games since Yankees acquired him from Seattle.
DJ LeMahieu raised his AL-leading average to .334 with three hits, giving him five in two games against his former team.
“It’s a little weird,” said LeMahieu, who spent his first eight big league seasons with the Rockies. “I’ll be excited not to play them anymore.”
Tanaka said the heat reminded him of steamy summer games in Japan.
“It was fine when we were walking on the grass, but as soon as you got to the plate it was like a cone of heat. It was awful,” Romine said. “It was a struggle out there. It was really hot — probably one of the more hot games I’ve ever caught.”
Angels 6, Mariners 2
In Seattle, David Fletcher singled home the tiebreaking run in the ninth inning, Mike Trout followed with a three-run homer and Los Angeles took advantage of a big mistake on defense by the Mariners.
Shohei Ohtani finished 1-for-5 for the Angels, who stopped a three-game skid.
With two outs in the ninth, the Mariners misplayed Luis Rengifo’s popup into an infield single that left runners at the corners. Fletcher’s single gave the Angels a 3-2 lead, and Trout connected off Roenis Elías (2-2) for his AL-leading 31st home run.
It was Rengifo who singled in the ninth Friday night for Los Angeles’ only hit, ending Mike Leake’s run at a perfect game.
Blue Jays 7, Tigers 5
In Detroit, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit his first career grand slam, a 441-foot (134-meter) drive toward the bushes at Comerica Park that helped Toronto rally for a win.
Guerrero’s home run erased a 5-1 deficit in the fifth, and Brandon Drury added a two-run shot an inning later to put the Blue Jays ahead. Niko Goodrum and John Hicks went deep for the Tigers, who are 7-33 since the start of June.
Goodrum’s two-run homer in the second gave Detroit a 3-1 lead, but a 59-minute rain delay in the fourth knocked out both starting pitchers.
Wilmer Font (2-0) came on in the bottom of the fourth and gave up a two-run homer to Hicks that put the Tigers up by four, but Gregory Soto (0-4) gave away the advantage quickly. Toronto loaded the bases in the fifth, then Guerrero hit his home run a bit to the left of straightaway center. It was the ninth homer of the season for the rookie slugger, who had three hits in a win Friday and two more on Saturday.
In Other Games
Red Sox 17, Orioles 6
Athletics 5, Twins 4
White Sox 2, Rays 1 (11)
Royals 1, Indians 0
Astros 6, Rangers 1
Nationals 5, Braves 3
Cubs 6, Padres 5
Mets 11, Giants 4
Reds 3, Cardinals 2
Pirates 5, Phillies 1
Brewers 8, Diamondbacks 3
Dodgers 10, Marlins 6
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5