Masahiro Tanaka delivered when it mattered the most on Wednesday, coming through with seven scoreless inning's in a Game 5 win over the Astros.
The right-hander allowed just three hits and a walk while striking out eight in another scoreless gem.
"You see him out there, talking to himself and doing all this crazy stuff," third baseman Todd Frazier told reporters. "Next thing you know his ball just disappears on batters. What a performance."
Tanaka's regular season was filled with ups and downs, as he compiled a 13-12 record, 4.74 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 30 starts. This postseason, however, Tanaka has bounced back and pitched like an ace, owning a 0.90 ERA while winning two of his three starts. He has kept teams scoreless in two of those three outings.
His latest victory, which manager Joe Girardi called "special," puts the Yankees within one win of the World Series for the first time since 2009.
"You go out there and you fight and you empty that tank," he said through an interpreter. "I think I'm just really clear of what I need to do out there, and I'm just executing that."