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Watch: Masahiro Tanaka helps tie Yankees’ strikeout record

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Masahiro Tanaka saved his best start for last. The Yankees’ right-hander spun seven innings without a run or a walk during Friday’s series opener, holding the Blue Jays to three hits and polishing off his 13th win of the season with a career-best 15 strikeouts.

Tanaka stunned the Jays with 10 strikeouts in the first 14 at-bats, preserving his perfect game bid until it was snapped by an Ezequiel Carrera line drive in the fifth.

Carrera made it to second base on his 10th steal of the season, but couldn’t find a way to come home to score after he was picked off during the next at-bat. Tanaka returned with another five strikeouts in two innings, besting the 14-strikeout record he set against the Rays back in July.

The Blue Jays didn’t fare much better against the bullpen. David Robertson twirled a scoreless eighth and a pair of strikeouts from Aroldis Chapman boosted the Yankees’ total to 18, matching a franchise record for most strikeouts in a nine-inning game.

While Tanaka’s gem stands alone as one of the best performances the Yankees have delivered this season, it also kept the club in the running for their first AL East title since 2012. They stand to clinch the division should they sweep the Blue Jays and see the Astros sweep the Red Sox this weekend.

Andrew McCutchen ‘ready to go’ whenever season begins

Andrew McCutchen
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Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen would have opened the regular season on the injured list if it had started on time. Now, with the start of the season pushed back at least a few months due to coronavirus (COVID-19), the veteran five-time All-Star says he will be “ready to go” whenever the season begins, he told NBC Sports Philadelphia.

McCutchen, 33, tore his ACL in early June, ending his 2019 campaign. To that point, he had been quite productive for the Phillies, batting .256/.378/.457 with 10 home runs and 29 RBI over 262 plate appearances. If and when the 2020 season does begin, he will likely reprise his role as the leadoff hitter, this time under new manager Joe Girardi.

2020 marks the second year of McCutchen’s three-year, $50 million contract initially signed with the Phillies in December 2018. The Phillies also hold a $15 million club option for the 2022 season with a $3 million buyout.