Masahiro Tanaka threw seven sharp innings and Chase Headley drove in three runs to lead the New York Yankees to a 6-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday at Yankee Stadium. >> Box score
Tanaka (7-7) won his second straight start and has 22 strikeouts and a 1.29 ERA over his last three outings. He struck out eight batters on Monday and allowed one run and five hits, throwing 72 of 111 pitches for strikes.
Headley, who went 2-for-3, hit a two-run double in the eighth inning that turned a one-run lead into a 4-1 game, then scored when Ronald Torreyes grounded into a fielder's choice. Ryan Tepera threw home to try to get Didi Gregorius out, but the ball got past the catcher as Gregorius slid in, allowing two runs to score.
The Yankees scored twice in the first inning when Headley was hit with the bases loaded and Jacoby Ellsbury drew a bases-loaded walk off Marcus Stroman (8-5), who gave up two runs, five hits and two walks in five innings.
Aroldis Chapman allowed two runs in the ninth inning on a Kevin Pillar pinch-hit RBI double and Darwin Barney RBI single, his second of the game.
Exactly two weeks ago, I swore up and down that Tanaka was injured and it was affecting his performance. I simply could not entertain the notion that someone as talented as him and with such a glittering track record could pitch so awful for so long. I was wrong.
Tanaka has been tremendous across his last three starts, registering a 1.29 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. Opposing batters have hit .192 against Tanaka during the span. Amazingly, this is Tanaka's first three-game stretch this season in which he has allowed two or fewer earned runs in each outing.
If Tanaka has completely righted the ship it has come at the perfect time for the Yankees as they need someone to lean on as they head into the second half.
CC Sabathia (7-2, 3.46 ERA) returns from the DL to face J.A. Happ (2-5, 3.71 ERA) in the second game of a three-game series on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m. at Yankee Stadium.