Masahiro Tanaka notched up his 11th win of the season against table-toppers Toronto Blue Jays to take the lead of most wins for a pitcher in the MLB this season.
Tanaka confidently strode off the mound at the end of the sixth innings at Yankee Stadium in the knowledge he had done his job.
With the score at 3-1 it was up to his teammates to see the New York Yankees home. The team followed through with neither side adding any further runs in front of 41,000 fans.
It handed Tanaka his 11th win from 14 games started and his fifth win in a row after his only defeat this season which came against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
The star pitcher had a tricky start to the game after the Blue Jays’ first batter Jose Reyes smashed Tanaka’s first pitch of the night for a homer over the right-field wall.
The hit gave fans a reminder of the Japanese’s last meeting with the Blue Jays when Melky Cabrera thundered a leadoff home run.
But Tanaka was able to regain composure and threw a clean game, conceding just five hits in six innings and struck out 10 batters.
The result boosted his MLB figures to 1.99 ERA with 113 strikeouts.
Since his defeat at Wrigley Field, Tanaka has won five on the bounce with a phenomenal 1.26 ERA record.
Speaking to MLB.com Yankees manager Joe Girardi said: “What he has one has been remarkable. He’s been a big part of our success this year and continues just to grind out starts and make adjustments and give us distance."
Victory against the Blue Jays was Girardi’s 600th as manager and he became only the sixth man in the team’s history to pass that mark.
Brett Gardner gave the Yankees the lead in the bottom of the third with a two-run homer off the right-field foul pole. Mark Teixeira added the third Yankee run in the fifth with a RBI single which saw Derek Jeter home.
Credit must also be given to reliever pitchers Delin Detances and David Robertson who combined to shut out the Blue Jays after Tanaka’s successful six innings.
The Yankees stopped a team in superb form in 2014 with the Blue Jays slowed to a 41-31 record. The Blue Jays entered the game leading the American League in runs scored and they top the American League East division with the Yankees 3.5 games behind and a 36-33 season record.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/1a2u3KU