NEW YORK — Masahiro Tanaka pitched a two-hitter with 10 strikeouts for his fourth major league shutout, and the New York Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-0 on Monday night to increase their slim lead in the AL East.
DJ LeMahieu hit a two-run homer off Yonny Chirinos, and Cameron Maybin homered in his third consecutive game. That was all a dominant Tanaka (5-5) needed while throwing 76 of 111 pitches for strikes in his seventh complete game since coming over from Japan.
Edwin Encarnación received an enthusiastic ovation from fans in his Yankees debut after being acquired from Seattle in a trade late Saturday night. Batting fifth as the designated hitter, the veteran slugger went 0 for 4 with a strikeout his first time up.
No matter. New York won the opener of a three-game series and moved 1½ games ahead of the second-place Rays.
Maybin, his days in pinstripes perhaps numbered, finished 3 for 3 with two singles. He homered leading off the fifth inning and scored on LeMahieu’s two-out shot in the third.
Tanaka retired his first nine batters before Austin Meadows singled sharply off the right field wall to start the fourth. A two-out single in the fifth by Willy Adames was Tampa Bay’s only other hit.
Lemahieu, shifted over from third base, made a diving stop up the middle to begin a slick force play that drew an appreciative bow from a clapping Tanaka.
The right-hander walked only one and set down the final 10 Rays batters, striking out six.
Chirinos (7-3) gave up five hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked one.