(The Sports Xchange) - Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven outstanding innings and the New York Yankees averted a four-game sweep with a 5-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.
First baseman Dustin Ackley was put in the lineup because of a .364 average off R.A. Dickey and the move paid off. Ackley lifted a sacrifice fly for New York’s first run and hit a two-run home run into the right field seats with two outs in the fourth.
Designated hitter Alex Rodriguez was honored in a pre-game ceremony and had an RBI double in the eighth. He also scored on Ackley’s sacrifice fly, sliding head first and raising his hands in triumph after being called safe.
Tanaka (12-6) helped the Yankees snap a pair of negative streaks by scattering four hits and holding third baseman Josh Donaldson and right fielder Jose Bautista to a combined one hit in six at-bats.
His outing ended a five-game losing streak and a seven-game home losing streak to Toronto while also moving the Yankees (78-64) back to within 3 1/2 games in the AL East.
Tanaka struck out seven without a walk and threw 108 pitches, and since allowing five runs and five hits in four innings on Opening Day, he has a 1.23 ERA in his last three starts against Toronto.
It was the second time in less than a month Tanaka produced a big outing against the Blue Jays.
Last month, Tanaka followed up New York’s dramatic 4-3 win in Toronto by pitching a complete game Aug. 15 in an outing which at the time gave the Yankees a 1 1/2-game edge.
Tanaka gave up a two-out double to Bautista in the first but struck out designated hitter Chris Colabello. He gave up a one-out double to center fielder Kevin Pillar in the second but picked him off and struck out shortstop Ryan Goins.
Tanaka went nearly four innings without allowing a baserunner, retiring 11 in a row before Colabello had a double on a ball left fielder Brett Gardner lost sight of. Gardner made a sliding catch on first baseman Justin Smoak and Tanaka finished the outing by getting Pillar.
Dickey allowed five runs and seven hits in 7 2/3 innings. Dickey lost for the first time in eight decisions since a 2-0 loss July 9 against the Chicago White Sox.
The Blue Jays were shut out for the fifth time but the first time since July 10 in Chicago.
Compiled by Peter Rutherford