Yankees waste superlative effort from Tanaka

These days when a starting pitcher throws eight scoreless innings a ‘W’ is expected by that team. Masahiro Tanaka did that for the Yankees Thursday night, but an ‘L’ is what Yanks came away with in a 1-0, 10-inning loss that ended a 2-7 trip prior to a homestand in which they will face two division leaders, the Red Sox and the White Sox, and the defending World Series champion Royals.

It would have been a great boost to the struggling Yankees to end the bumpy trip with an exhilarating victory heading into the homestand, and Tanaka certainly did his part. The Japanese righthander was nothing short of brilliant in shutting down the Orioles on five hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in eight innings as he lowered his ERA to 2.29.

However, Orioles starter Kevin Gausman was to the task in matching Tanaka in zeroes for eight innings in limiting the Yankees to three hits and no walks with four strikeouts. Yes, this was a pitching duel that was right out of Mel Stottlemyre vs. Jim Palmer.

Dellin Betances did his job in the ninth, but the Orioles got to Johnny Barbato in the 10th when singles by Hyun Soo Kim and Joanthan Schoop put runners on first and third with none out. Yankees manager Joe Girardi summoned Andrew Miller to face Pedro Alvarez, who lifted a fly ball deep enough to center field to end the game.

It was another debilitating loss for the punchless Yankees, who ended up losing the series to an Orioles squad almost as punchless. Baltimore had one hit in 18 at-bats with runners in scoring position (.056) in the series, which was even worse than the Yankees, who were 5-for-23 (.217).

What hurt the most was wasting an effort by Tanaka that was the best performance by a Yankees starter this season.

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