Tanaka Shines, Torres and McCutchen Homer as Yanks Blank M's

AP
September 08, 2018 - 4:51 am

© Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

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SEATTLE (AP) _ Masahiro Tanaka may be pitching himself into a start at the AL 
wild-card game.
 
 The Japanese right-hander struck out 10 over eight innings, Gleyber Torres and 
Andrew McCutchen each hit two-run homers and the New York Yankees beat the 
Seattle Mariners 4-0 on Friday night.
 
 Tanaka (11-5) allowed three hits and didn't walk anyone, but he wasn't all that 
impressed.
 
 ``I felt like I didn't have my best stuff,'' Tanaka said through a translator. 
``I didn't have good command of my slider and had to make adjustments throughout 
the game. But as the game went one I felt I was able to get my focus. It's just 
grinding it out.''
 
 Tanaka has allowed two earned runs or fewer in four of his last five starts. 
Yankees manager Aaron Boone felt Tanaka's splitfinger fastball was the pitch 
that made him so effective Friday night.
 
 ``The splitfinger right from the get-go was a factor,'' Boone said. ``And we 
even saw him reach back when he needed a little extra velocity on his fastball. 
He was in complete command out there tonight. He was terrific.''
 
 Boone has yet to commit to a starter for the wild-card game if New York ends up 
there, in part because ace Luis Severino has been off his game of late. With 
more results like this, Tanaka could be Boone's guy in the winner-take-all 
showdown. 
 
 The Yankees maintained their 3 1/2-game lead over Oakland for the top AL wild 
card and stayed 8 1/2 back of AL East-leading Boston. Seattle is 6 1/2 games 
behind the A's for the final AL wild card.
 
     Tanaka is 7-0 against the Mariners in his career.
 
 ``That's about as good a pitched game we've had against us in quite some 
time,'' said Mariners manager Scott Servais. ``He used all four quadrants of the 
strike zone with his fastball and he had a really good splitter going. We didn't 
get much to square up at all.''
 
 Torres and McCutchen squared up two pitches against starter James Paxton 
(11-6). Torres hit a two run-homer in the second inning, his 23rd of the season. 
The home run came after Luke Voit hit a two-out single to left.
 
 Torres, 21, is the youngest Yankee since Mickey Mantle to get 100 hits in a 
season.
 
 ``I feel really good for that,'' Torres said. ``Hitting in this game is not 
easy. You have to stay humble and stay focused. I'm trying not to do too much. 
Now I'm more relaxed at the plate.''
 
 McCutchen added a two-run shot in the third for his first homer as a Yankee. He 
entered the game with one single in 16 at-bats in his first five games with the 
Yankees since coming over in the trade with the Giants.
 
 ``I made some mistakes there in the second and third inning and they made me 
pay,'' said Paxton, who pitched six innings and struck out eight. ``Other than 
that, I felt pretty good. I hung a curveball in the third inning and the second 
inning was a cutter that I just didn't get to the back foot.''
 
     DIDI RETURNS
 
 The Yankees activated shortstop Didi Gregorius from the 10-day disabled list 
before the game and he entered as a defensive replacement in the sixth inning. 
He grounded out to second in his only at-bat.
 
 Gregorius bruised his left heal on Aug. 19 and missed 16 games. He is hitting 
.269 with 22 home runs and 74 RBIs.
 
     TRAINER'S ROOM
 
 Yankees: RF Aaron Judge hit balls off a tee before the game, did some throwing 
in the outfield and fielded balls in early batting practice. Judge broke his 
right wrist when he was hit by a pitch on July 26.
 
 Mariners: Manager Scott Servais said LHP Marco Gonzales will come off the 
10-day DL and start Tuesday's game against the San Diego Padres. Gonzales, who 
was placed on the DL on Aug. 27 (neck strain) threw in the bullpen Friday. 
Servais said the Mariners will use a six-man rotation the rest of the season. . 
1B Daniel Vogelbach (hamstring strain) was available to pinch hit Friday but 
still isn't ready to play in the field.
 
     UP NEXT
 
 RHP Lance Lynn (8-10, 5.10 ERA) will make his seventh start for the Yankees on 
Saturday against the Mariners. He never has faced Seattle in his career. Lynn is 
winless in his last three starts, going 0-2 with an 8.59 ERA. RHP Felix 
Hernandez (8-13, 5.55 ERA) will make his 28th start of the season Saturday. 
Hernandez has not won a game since June 30. He has lost four of his last five 
starts, allowing 19 runs in 28 2/3 innings.