BOSTON -- Masahiro Tanaka got the best of an exquisite pitchers' duel against Chris Sale in a Thursday night thriller at Fenway Park, leading the Yankees to a 3-0 victory over the Red Sox. Neither team had an extra-base hit.Tanaka was machine-like with his efficiency, firing a three-hit shutout that
BOSTON -- Masahiro Tanaka got the best of an exquisite pitchers' duel against Chris Sale in a Thursday night thriller at Fenway Park, leading the Yankees to a 3-0 victory over the Red Sox. Neither team had an extra-base hit.
Tanaka was machine-like with his efficiency, firing a three-hit shutout that required just 97 pitches, aka a "Maddux." The sinkerballer walked none and struck out three for his second career shutout, giving the Yankees two straight wins at Fenway in a series that was abbreviated by a postponement on Tuesday.
• Tanaka rises to challenge
"I enjoy the competition," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "I think a lot of people thought with how well he was pitching up to this point, that probably Chris Sale had the upper hand. But I wanted to go in there and beat the odds."
Meanwhile, Sale was dominant for the first eight innings before allowing three straight singles to open the ninth, at which point he was removed from the game. Sale's lack of run support in his first five starts for Boston has been a troubling trend. In Sale's 37 2/3 innings, the Red Sox have scored a total of four runs.
• Sale's lack of support reaching historic levels
"The only frustration would be towards myself," Sale said. "I know what I need to do and I just need to be better at it. I need to go out there and be better that last inning."
Sale (1-2, 1.19 ERA) gave up three runs (two earned) on eight hits, walking none and striking out 10.
A sacrifice fly by Matthew Holliday in the fourth, an unearned run against Sale, was the only run by either team until the ninth, when the Yankees tacked on a pair, including one on a single by Holliday.
"He's a challenge, man. Everyone knows how good Chris Sale is," Holliday said. "It's a battle. Thankfully Masa was pitching as well as he was. That gave us a chance, and we finally scratched some runs off of him."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Yankees manufacture one against Sale: When Aaron Hicks led off the top of the fourth with a single, it marked the first time the leadoff batter got a hit off Sale in an inning this season. Hicks moved to second on a grounder that Sale knocked down. It might have been a double play if Sale hadn't touched it. Sandy Leon appeared crossed up on a passed ball, pushing Hicks to third. The Red Sox then moved the infield in, and Holliday worked a professional at-bat, drilling the 10th pitch to deep left for a sacrifice fly.
"That was definitely my mistake," Sale said of the passed ball. "We had a sequence that we were going with, and I just flat out forgot. [Holliday's] a tough out. There's no doubt about it. He's been around a long time. He's as good as they get. He's a professional at-bat every time." More >
JBJ DP costly for Red Sox:Xander Bogaerts led off the bottom of the fifth with a single to left, and the Red Sox finally hoped to generate something against Tanaka. But Jackie Bradley Jr. pounded Tanaka's 1-0 sinker into the ground for a 3-6-3 double play, and the possibility of a rally was quickly snuffed out.
"Well, Tanaka was very good with putting the ball on the ground. I think 15 ground-ball outs, a couple of double plays mixed in when we did get a man on base," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "Quality location, didn't make many mistakes in the middle of the plate."
"A complete game is tough. A shutout is tough. Under 100 pitches, that's pretty darned good. You've got to tip your cap. We all know what he features and what he brings to the table. He's as tough as anybody when he's throwing like that. He was wearing out the bottom of the zone." -- Sale, on Tanaka
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Sale is the third pitcher since 1913 to begin his Red Sox career with five straight starts of seven-plus innings and two or fewer earned runs, joining Dave "Boo" Ferriss (1945) and Ernie Shore (1914). For Ferriss, the stretch lasted seven starts. Shore did it in six consecutive starts.
MOOKIE'S 4-STAR SNAG
The top of the sixth ended with Mookie Betts making a dazzling play for the Red Sox. On a looping liner hit by Chase Headley, Betts sprinted into foul territory in right field and made a sweet basket catch, dodging the tarp to boot. Statcast™ rated it as a 4-Star Play that had a catch probability of 38 percent. Betts needed to cover 100 feet to make the play, and he had an opportunity time of 5.2 seconds. Betts is 3-for-4 in converting 4-Star plays this year.
Yankees: The Yankees return home on Friday to open a three-game weekend series with the Orioles in a matchup of the top two clubs in the American League East. Left-hander Carsten Sabathia will try to bounce back from a loss at Pittsburgh in which his pitches weren't sharp, permitting four runs in five innings. Kevin Gausman will start for Baltimore in the 7:05 p.m. ET contest.
Red Sox: The defending World Series champion Cubs come to Fenway on Friday for a marquee matchup between two of the most storied franchises in the game. Thomas Pomeranz, who fired six shutout innings to beat the Cubs as a member of the Padres last season, gets the nod for Boston. Jacob Arrieta, who had a no-hitter for 7 2/3 innings when he last pitched at Fenway three years ago, starts for Chicago. The opener of this three-game series starts at 7:10 p.m. ET.
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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.