Apr. 30, 2017
Bombers Take Two from Rival Sox after Duel
On April 2, the New York Yankees opened their 2017 season in Tampa Bay, where starter Masahiro Tanaka gave up seven runs to Rays hitters. After just two and two-thirds innings of work, the “ace” of the Yankee rotation had racked up a 23.63 ERA.
Tanaka returned to regular form in his next two starts, giving up just four earned runs in thirteen and one-third innings of work. However, the Yankees’ number one starter would face a tall task in Boston on Thursday night: taking the mound against Chris Sale.
Coming into the game, Sale posted a sub one ERA and forty-two strikeouts through four starts this season. His record was just 1-1, however, because of sub-par run support from the Red Sox lineup. Still, the Yankees would have their work cut out for them at Fenway Park on Thursday.
The game had the potential to be a pitcher's duel, and what a pitcher's duel it was. Both teams were held scoreless through the first three innings, until Yankee DH Matt Holliday hit a fly ball to left field that scored Aaron Hicks. That would be the only run for awhile, as zeroes popped up on the historic manual scoreboard at Fenway for the next four innings.
Chris Sale took the mound in the ninth for Boston. He quickly surrendered three consecutive base hits, which resulted in a second run for New York. Heath Hembree relieved Sale to finish the inning, but not before giving up another run. The Yankees led, 3-0.
As the Red Sox came up to bat in the bottom of the ninth, Masahiro Tanaka was still in the game. He would go on to pitch a 1-2-3 inning, and finish an incredible three-hit shutout in ninety-seven pitches. Chris Sale was dominant (like usual), giving up just the fourth and fifth earned runs of his season. But the Yankees' ace won the battle at Fenway, with a lights-out performance good for the fifth complete game and second shutout of his young career. Some might say Tanaka made up for his opening day outing.
New York won both games in the rain-shortened series against the Red Sox, but the two teams still have plenty of baseball left to play this season.
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