Written by: Daniel Correa (@DanielCorrea001)
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On Monday night, July 3rd, the New York Yankees defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 6-3 in what was the opening game of a three-game series in the Bronx.
Masahiro Tanaka threw seven strong innings, allowing just one run on five hits and striking out eight. He earned the victory, leveling his regular season record back to .500 at 7-7.
Tanaka has pitched much better over his last four starts, pitching to an ERA under 2.00 and going 4-0 in the process. He has improved significantly and has cut down on his home runs allowed.
The Yankees scored two quick runs in the bottom of the first inning. A pitch hit third baseman Chase Headley with the bases loaded, which forced in right fielder Aaron Judge from third.
Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury had a bases loaded RBI walk, which scored catcher Gary Sanchez.
For the next five innings the game was scoreless, as Toronto and New York pitching threw up zeros on the scoreboard.
Leading 2-0, the Yankees blinked in the top half of the seventh inning as Blue Jays second baseman Darwin Barney smacked a one-out RBI single to left center. That cut the Yankee lead to 2-1.
In the eighth, the Yankees responded with a four spot, as Headley hit a 2-run double and Ronald Torreyes grounded into a fielder’s choice groundout to the pitcher, scoring Didi Gregorius and Headley.
At that point the Yankees held a 6-1 lead until the top of the ninth inning. It was last licks for the Jays and they weren’t done scoring.
Yankee closer Aroldis Chapman came on for the ninth, after Dellin Betances delivered a scoreless eighth inning of relief for Tanaka.
Chapman got into early trouble in the ninth, giving up a lead off double to designated hitter Kendrys Morales. Later in the inning, Chapman allowed a Kevin Pillar RBI double, followed by a Darwin Barney RBI single, his second of the game.
Chapman wiggled out of further trouble, striking out Troy Tulowitzki and getting veteran hitter Russell Martin to line out to third for the final out of a thrilling ninth inning.
The win for the Yankees came shortly after the team discovered that five of its players would be heading for a trip to the 2017 All-Star Game in Miami, Florida. Pitchers Luis Severino and Betances, along with Starlin Castro, young superstar Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez will all be headed to South Beach for the Mid-Summer Classic on July 11th.