The Yankees made sure that there would be no hangover from their miserable blowout loss in the series finale at Oakland, as they rebounded to beat the Mariners on Friday night, 4-0.
The win improved the Yankees to 53-29 all-time at Safeco Field, the best record at the ballpark by any team. They completely dominated the Mariners, who had just four baserunners (three hits, one walk) thanks to another gem from Masahiro Tanaka. It was the first time the Yankees blanked the Mariners while giving up no more than three hits since May 14, 1996 … Dwight Gooden’s memorable no-hitter in the Bronx.
Tanaka was stellar, tossing eight scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts and no walks. Only one runner reached third base, and he retired 13 batters in row between a first-inning two-out single by Robinson Cano and a sixth-inning leadoff double by Mike Zunino. Tanaka is the first pitcher in franchise history with a 10-strikeout, no-walk scoreless outing against the Mariners. It was his fifth career double-digit, zero-walk game; the only Yankee with more is Mike Mussina (7).
The brilliant performance also extended his run of dominant ace-like performances since the All-Star break. His 2.30 ERA in the second half of the season is the third-best among AL pitchers (min. 30 IP), behind only Blake Snell (1.42) and David Price (1.78).
Masahiro Tanaka Since All-Star Break:
— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) September 8, 2018
Gleyber Torres gave Tanaka some early run support with his 23rd home run of the season in the second inning, a two-run bomb that also was his 100th career hit. Torres (21 years, 268 days old) is the youngest Yankee to reach the century-hit milestone since a 20-year-old Mickey Mantle in 1952. He also matched Mantle on this home run leaderboard of franchise legends:
Yankees Most HR Age-21 Season or Younger:
Joe DiMaggio 29 (1936)
Gleyber Torres 23 (2018)
Mickey Mantle 23 (1952)
— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) September 8, 2018
The Bombers used their two trademark offensive weapon home runs and almost-homers (sac flies) to beat the Mariners on Saturday night, 4-2. They lead the majors in both categories (232 homers, 51 sac flies) — and by large margins. Entering Sunday, their 34-homer lead was nearly the same as the difference between the second-place teams (Dodgers and A’s, 198) and the 15th place team (Phillies, 165). And their six-sac fly lead was the same as the difference between the second-place Pirates (45) and the eighth-place Diamondbacks (39).
Andrew McCutchen got the deep-ball party started when he cranked a leadoff homer in the top of the first. McCutchen is the third different Yankee to hit a leadoff blast this season (Gardner has three and Hicks has one). The last time they had a trio of players each with at least one leadoff homer was 1995, when four guys — Tony Fernandez, Bernie Williams, Luis Polonia, Wade Boggs — did it.
After Seattle tied it up in the third, Giancarlo Stanton put them ahead again in the fifth with a sacrifice fly to right, his 10th with the team. He is one of four Yankees to hit double-digit sac flies and 30 homers in a season:
Yankees 10+ Sac Flies and 30+ HR in a Season:
Giancarlo Stanton (2018)
Tino Martinez (1997)
Don Mattingly (1985, ’86)
— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) September 9, 2018
The Mariners quickly knotted it up again in the bottom of the fifth, but Austin Romine finally gave the Yankees the lead for good with a solo blast in the seventh. It was his first career go-ahead homer in the seventh inning or later.
Dellin Betances survived a shaky ninth inning for his third save of the season. He loaded the bases with one out and then struck out Denard Span and Kyle Seager swinging to seal the win. Opponents are 5-for-50 (.100) with the bases loaded against Betances in his career, and he’s whiffed nearly half (28) of them (58). That .100 batting average allowed is the lowest among all active MLB pitchers (min. 50 batters faced).
WTF loss to the Mariners
All streaks must come to an end, right? The Bombers domination of the Mariners was snapped in abrupt fashion on Sunday, losing 3-2 on a fantastic game-ending catch by Mitch Haniger with the Yankees potential game-tying run on base. Prior to that loss, they had won seven in a row against the Mariners, and were going for the season series sweep. It would have been the first time ever that the Yankees swept a season series against an AL West team since divisional play began in 1969.
The big story of the game was another RISP-fail showing by the offense, which went 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position. That included a no-out, bases-loaded situation in the fourth inning that resulted in a single run scored when Andrew McCutchen took ball four on a full-count. The Bronx Walkers’ 14 bases-loaded walks are tied for the fourth-most in MLB this season, while their batting average and slugging percentage both rank 23rd.
CC Sabathia battled through a rough first two innings but was able to limit the damage (two runs) and retired 11 of the final 13 batters he faced. Sabathia’s 2.24 ERA in 15 career starts at Safeco Field is the third-lowest at the ballpark among all pitchers with at least 10 starts there, behind Bartolo Colon (1.98) and Dan Haren (2.00).
Giancarlo Stanton — along with making the final out of the game — ended the no-hitter version of this game early with a first-inning double, his 30th of the season. Round number alert: he is the first Yankee with at least 30 homers and 30 doubles since Robinson Cano in 2012, the first Yankee right-handed batter to do it since Alex Rodriguez in 2008, and the first Yankee DH/outfielder to achieve both marks in a season since Hideki Matsui in 2004.