Only three things in life are certain: death, taxes, and a dominating performance from Masahiro Tanaka.
The Japanese right-hander was on his A-game once again, raking up 11 strikeouts as the Bombers took down the Mariners, 4-2, on Wednesday night at Safeco Field in Seattle.
Robinson Cano, of all people, broke up Tanaka's shutout bid one out into the 9th inning with a two-run homerun that carried over the left-center field wall. Still, Tanaka held the M's to six hits for his second complete-game of the season.
The Yankees made M's starter Chris Young put in a lot of work, but the biggest blow of the night came off the bat of Mark Teixeira, who blasted a three-run homerun off of Young in the 6th inning.
Derek Jeter singled with one out in the top of the 1st inning, and Teixeira walked two batters later to put runners in first and second with one out, but Young struck out Carlos Beltran with his 31st pitch of the inning to strand the runners without giving up a run.
The Yankees went down in order in the 2nd inning, but finally broke through and got on the board against Young in the 3rd, albeit with just one run.
Brian Roberts singled to kick off the frame, the Brett Gardner walked to put the Yankees in a good position score with two on and nobody out. Derek Jeter made an odd decision to bunt and popped out to the catcher for the first out. A batter later, Jacoby Ellsbury extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a single into center field that brought home Roberts to put the Yankees up 1-0.
Two innings later, Brett Gardner singled to open the 5th, Ellsbury singled two batters later, then Teixeira followed with his 11th homerun of the season,a three-run shot that put the Bombers up 4-0.
Young finished off the inning, but that was the end of his day. The Yankees made him throw 96 pitches in five inning, knocking him around for four runs on seven hits, with two walks and two strikeouts. Prior to this start, Young had never lost a home start at Safeco Field.
Now, onto Tanaka. The one run scored in the third inning would have been enough for him to win the ballgame.
Brian Cashman called this guy "a solid, potential No. 3 starter in the big leagues” during spring training, but he has been nothing but the best pitcher on the team this season, and somebody worth far more than $155 million.
His worst innings of the night were in the 4th and 8th, when he gave up a pair of hits in each of those innings, using a big double play to end the 8th when Conner Gillespie lined out to Roberts at second base, who throw over to first to double up Brad Miller.
Tanaka retired the Mariners nine up, nine down through three innings and looked as if he could make history with the way the M's were swinging the bat against him. Most notably, his splitter was very, very good to begin the game.
Joe Girardi left Tanaka return to the mound in the 9th with just 92 pitches. He retired the first batter, but after Roberts made an error -- it was ruled a base hit, though -- on an easy groundball. The Cano, on June 12, hit his first homerun in Seattle, a two-run shot that broke up what could have been the second complete-game shutout by Tanaka this season.