Masahiro Tanaka just keeps on winning


He struck out 11 Seattle Mariners batters and pitched a complete game in the New York Yankees 4-2 win last Wednesday night to become the second pitcher in the major leagues to reach 10 wins this season.

Tanaka, the Japanese pitcher the Yankees signed in the off-season, has won four straight starts. He came into Tuesday night’s start with a 10-1 record.

“You look at the numbers he’s put up, the distances he’s given us during the course of the season, he’s meant a lot,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Tanaka, who allowed six hits with one walk, leads the AL with a 2.02 ERA and is sixth in the majors with 93.2 innings pitched. He gave up a two-run homer to Robinson Cano in the ninth inning.

“Obviously I wasn’t very happy about that home run, but at the end I’m pretty satisfied I was able to go all nine innings tonight,” Tanaka said through an interpreter.

Starting with the third out in the fourth inning, Tanaka struck out six of the next seven hitters he faced, including striking out the side in the sixth.

“I just thought about taking it game by game, just trying to go out there and do the best that I can each game,” Tanaka said. “As a result, this is where I am.”

Tanaka, who has fanned 53 batters with his splitter, is one of just seven pitchers with 100 or more strikeouts with 103.

“He was dealing,” Cano said. “He put the ball where he wants. He’s filthy.”

Tanaka hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any start this season. He has one shutout and has allowed only one run on three occasions. He also has a streak of 13 straight quality starts.

Gwynn, “Mr. Padre,” dies: Hall of Fame major leaguer Tony Gwynn died Monday morning in Poway, Calif. Gwynn, who had 3,141 hits during his 20-year career with the San Diego Padres, died of cancer at the age of 54.

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig called Gwynn “one of the most accomplished hitters that our game has ever known.”

“(His) all-around excellence on the field was surpassed by his exuberant personality and genial disposition in life,” Selig said in a statement.

Gwynn won eight National League batting titles and had a career .338 average. He played in both of the franchise’s World Series appearances. Gwynn was the baseball coach at San Diego State University, his alma mater.

Cespedes, armed and dangerous: If anyone doubted the arm strength of Oakland Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes after last Tuesday’s game, they don’t now. Playing left field, Cespedes threw out Los Angeles Angels baserunner Albert Pujols at third base after misplaying a hit down the line in Wednesday’s game.

Pujols was trying to stretch a double into a triple.

The night before, Cespedes threw out Howie Kendrick at home plate from the left-field corner.

“He did it again,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He never ceases to amaze.”

Cespedes leads the majors in outfield assists with nine.

The A’s lost Tuesday’s game in Anaheim 2-1 in 14 innings, and won Wednesday’s contest 7-1.

StatsWatch: The Bay Area has two of baseball’s best teams, and two of the top starting rotations. Here is a look at the starting top four pitchers on staff’s of the Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants (through Sunday’s games):

  • Scott Kazmir, A’s, 8-2, 2.50 ERA
  • Sonny Gray, A’s, 6-3, 2.93 ERA
  • Jesse Chavez, A’s, 6-4, 2.93 ERA
  • Tommy Milone, A’s, 4-3, 3.47 ERA
  • Tim Hudson, Giants, 7-2, 1.81 ERA
  • Madison Bumgarner, Giants, 8-4, 2.85 ERA
  • Ryan Vogelsong, Giants, 4-3, 3.94 ERA
  • Tim Lincecum, Giants, 5-4, 4.81 ERA

Diamond Notes: AL All-Star manager John Farrell of the Boston Red Sox and NL All-Star manager Mike Matheny have filled their coaching positions. Joining Farrell will be Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona. Joining Matheny will be Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle and Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez…The Cubs are talking about trading pitcher Jeff Samardzija. The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that the team has talked to multiple teams, including Atlanta, Seattle and Toronto…Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright will skip his next turn in the rotation to allow tendinitis in his pitching elbow to ease…Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley is out for the season with a partially torn flexor tendon in his right elbow. Billingsley had been trying to work his way back from Tommy John surgery on the same elbow. He will have surgery next week.

Copyright © 2014  Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.

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