Tanaka tops Scherzer as Yanks win 7th straight
NEW YORK -- Two homers from Stephen Drew and a seventh-inning barrage helped lead the Yankees to their seventh straight victory, a 6-1 win over the Nationals on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven strong innings of one-run ball to pick up his fourth win. Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer fell to 6-5.
Early homers from Drew and Bryce Harper had the game tied at 1 until the Yankees opened it up in the seventh.
Ramon Flores got the rally going with a one-out single to right field, and Brett Gardner followed suit with a single of his own to left. Alex Rodriguez reached on a fielder's choice, and when Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond tried to throw Flores out at third, the ball hit the runner and scooted past third baseman Anthony Rendon, allowing Flores to score. Desmond was charged with the error. Later in the inning, Brian McCann hit a two-run single to right field, and Carlos Beltran made it 5-1 when his single brought in Mark Teixeira. Drew's second homer of the game, in the eighth, gave the Yanks a 6-1 advantage.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Good as Drew: After struggling offensively for much of the season, Drew is finding his stroke. In the third inning, Drew belted a homer over the right-field fence for his eighth home run of the season and the 1,000th hit of his career. Five innings later, Drew went deep again. Drew now has four home runs since Friday and nine on the season. Tuesday was his fourth career multihomer game and the second of the season. More >
Welcome to the Bronx: Harper -- who grew up rooting for the Yankees -- had never played a game in Yankee Stadium, let alone hit a home run. He did both Tuesday, taking a 1-0 fastball from Tanaka and sending it over the left-center-field wall in the fourth inning. The home run extended his season total to 20.
"Didn't really mean anything to the game," Harper said. "Definitely nice to get No. 20, but [Tanaka] threw great out there. ... Definitely happy about it, but it's not good when you lose a ballgame." More >
Tanaka still sharp: In his second start off the disabled list, Tanaka was dominant again, throwing seven innings of five-hit, one-run ball. Tanaka struck out six and didn't walk a batter. With the win, he is now 4-1 on the season.
"Yeah, it's great that I was able to perform the way that I did today," Tanaka said. "But more than anything, I'm glad that I was able to contribute in the team's win."
Unlucky inning seven: Scherzer was solid through six innings, holding the Yankees to one run on six hits. It came apart in a seventh inning that saw all nine Yankees step up to the plate. An error by Desmond allowed the go-ahead run to score, knocking Scherzer out of the game. Reliever Matt Thornton then intentionally walked Teixeira and allowed a two-run single to McCann and an RBI single to Beltran.
"I thought we were able to keep it a tight ballgame there. Everybody was competing," Scherzer said. "It's just a tough loss."
"You know, it happens. I've done it before, bunted with two strikes before. Not at the big league level, but I've done it before. It was in my head the whole time when I was 1-2. I went with my gut, it didn't work."
-- Harper, on his two-strike bunt attempt in the seventh inning
"I think he enjoys the stage, I do. I think that's one of the reason he came to New York, too, because I think he likes the competition and the excitement of pitching here. I think he likes it."
-- Yankees manager Joe Girardi, on Tanaka thriving mentally in big matchups
Nationals: The Nationals will send left-hander Gio Gonzalez to the mound in the finale of this two-game series at 1:10 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Gonzalez (4-3, 4.57 ERA) has yet to find his usually stellar form this season, but held the Cubs to two runs over six innings in his last start.
Yankees: Nathan Eovaldi gets the start for the Yankees. Eovaldi is 5-1 on the season with a 4.16 ERA. His last time out, Eovaldi allowed a season-low four hits to the Angels and threw five scoreless innings before he was pulled after 5 1/3 frames, allowing one run.
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