The Yankees strung together four runs to back Masahiro Tanaka's complete game shutout in a 4-0 victory over the Rays on Tuesday at Tropicana Field. >> Box score
Things to know about tonight's game
1) Tanaka only needed 105 pitches to get through nine innings and struck out nine batters in the process. He allowed just three hits and walked one batter against a Rays lineup that went 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position.
2) Didi Gregorius drove in the Yankees' first run in the first inning, while Tyler Wade came around to score on Austin Romine's groundout in the fifth. The Yankees scored a third run in the seventh when Romine hit a sacrifice fly to right. Neil Walker tacked on an RBI single in the ninth inning.
3) Miguel Andujar and Greg Bird each had two hits for the Yankees, who totaled eight hits on the night and still managed to win despite going 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
I wrote late last week that the Yankees were going to need Tanaka to step up in the second half as he did last season and so far, so good on that front.
Tanaka was dominant tonight, inducing 17 swings and misses while striking out a season-high nine batters and allowing just one walk. Tanaka's complete game outing allowed the Yankees to provide another day of rest for the backend of the bullpen.
Since it seems the Yankees are not going to be able to land a No. 1 or No. 2 type starter, getting this type of production from Tanaka is going to go a long way toward solidifying a rotation that truly needs to be just three deep for a successful postseason run. That is especially true if the Yankees' reported deal for Zach Britton is finalized and the club can rely on an uber-bullpen in the playoffs.
The Yankees and Rays will wrap up their series on Wednesday at 12:10 p.m.