Masahiro Tanaka lost his perfect game bid with two outs in the sixth inning and the Yankees clubbed three homers as they beat the Rays, 5-1, on Friday night at Yankee Stadium >> Box score
Tanaka was dominant, striking out a career-high 14 batters while allowing one run on two hits and walking none.
Brett Gardner's leadoff homer in the first inning gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead, and Aaron Judge's solo shot in the fourth inning made it 2-0. Clint Frazier's three-run shot with two outs in the second inning extended the Yankees' lead to 5-0.
Lucas Duda's solo homer off Tanaka in the seventh inning cut the Yankees' lead to 5-1.
Backed by three Yankees homers, Tanaka was in cruise control virtually all night. Coming in, it was uncertain what Tanaka would be able to do against the Rays, after they clubbed him for 13 runs in 5 2/3 innings in his previous two starts against them this season.
Rays manager Kevin Cash was asked before the game to explain why Tampa had success against Tanaka earlier this season. He said they were patient and made Tanaka elevate the ball, because when he is down in the zone he is tough to hit. In those games, Cash felt the Rays did a good job of waiting for Tanaka to elevate and then took advantage. Cash also made it clear that he knew Tanaka was still a fine pitcher.
"He is still a very, very good pitcher," Cash said. "If he has his location he can make it very challenging."
Tanaka had very little problem with location in this one and his stuff was simply filthy at times, losing a perfect game and no-hitter with two outs in the sixth inning. Tanaka finished the night with a single-game career-high 14 strikeouts with no walks in eight innings as the Yankees secured their fifth straight win and seventh in their last eight games.
The Yankees continue their series against the Rays on Saturday at 1:05 p.m.
Caleb Smith gets the start for the Yankees, opposed by Blake Snell for Tampa.