Tanaka, Pineda lead Yankees in doubleheader shutouts against Cubs
There was nothing mysterious about Michael Pineda’s performance this time. Masahiro Tanaka’s dominant outing was pretty straightforward, too.
A day that began with snow in the outfield ended with a double whitewashing.
Pineda followed an overpowering outing by Tanaka with one of his own, pitching six innings of four-hit ball as the New York Yankees beat the Chicago Cubs 2-0 on a bitterly cold Wednesday night to complete their first doubleheader shutout sweep since 1987.
"It just goes to show you how well our pitchers threw," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "When you shut out a team for 18 innings, you’re doing things right."
Tanaka (2-0) struck out 10 and allowed just two bunt hits — one replay aided — over eight innings in a 3-0 win in the opener of the day-night twinbill. Carlos Beltran homered for a third straight game, off Jason Hammel in the first inning of the Cubs’ first regular-season game at the current Yankee Stadium.
"That split is not something you want to sit on. It’s not something you’re going to be able to handle," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "But, as it was coming out of the hand, as the guys were coming in, they were saying, `Gosh, it looks like a fastball. It ends up diving.’"
Brett Gardner and Scott Sizemore had RBI singles off Travis Wood (0-2) in the nightcap, helping the Yankees win for the fifth time in six games and handing Chicago its fourth straight loss.
New York had not won by shutout twice in one day since April 9, 1987, against Kansas City, according to STATS, and no team in the major leagues had done it since Minnesota swept Oakland on June 26, 1988.
The Cubs had not been blanked twice on the same day since Larry Jackson and Ray Sadecki pitched complete games for St. Louis on June 27, 1962.
Chicago was 9 for 61 (.148) at the plate, dropping its season average to .230, and struck out 17 times.
Pineda (2-1) was pitching for the first time since he was spotted with brown goo on his right hand during Thursday’s 4-1 win against Boston, touching off a debate about pitchers’ use of sticky substances to get better grips in cool weather. It was significantly colder Wednesday, with temperatures in the low-40s and a frigid wind, but Pineda’s hand was clean throughout.
"I didn’t do nothing," Pineda said when asked if he used something to improve his hold on the ball. "I was focusing on throwing the ball good."
And he did, despite pitching in some really harsh weather. In fact, he said it was the coldest he’s ever pitched in.
Anthony Rizzo’s triple with two outs in the sixth off Pineda was the Cubs’ only extra-base hit of the day. Chicago totaled six hits against a pair of 25-year-old power pitchers who rarely walk batters. Tanaka (2-0) and Pineda each gave up one free pass.
"Both of them, they were good," said Emilio Bonifacio, who was 0 for 8 on the day. "Their breaking pitches, they were pretty good, so it was really tough."
Shawn Kelley yielded a hit to Rizzo, who had three hits overall, in the ninth inning of the opener but secured his fourth save.
Adam Warren put runners on second and third in the ninth inning of the nightcap, but finished for his first save.
With Tuesday’s rainout postponing Jackie Robinson Day festivities, the Yankees unveiled a plaque honoring Nelson Mandela before the second game. Players from both teams wore No. 42.
The Cubs have yet to win in the Bronx. They were swept in the 1932 and `38 World Series and lost all three-games in 2005, their only interleague series in New York.
After an overnight storm, the grounds crew used blowers to melt the ice on the tarp before removing the covering from the infield. Snow still covered the grass in right field while the Cubs took batting practice, and many players wore ski caps.
But it wasn’t too cold for Beltran. He connected on a 1-1 changeup from Hammel (2-1) with one out in the first. Dean Anna started again at shortstop for Derek Jeter and drove in his run with a fly to left field in the fourth. Jeter went 1 for 5 in the night game, his first action since Friday.
New York added a run in the fifth when Junior Lake lost Gardner’s liner to left in the sun for a double. After Gardner advanced on Beltran’s groundout, Jacoby Ellsbury’s bat made contact with catcher John Baker’s glove before dunking a ball in front of the mound. Catcher’s interference was called but under rule 6.08 (c), the Yankees had the choice to reject the interference call — it would have put runners at the corners — and take the play as it unfolded on the field. The elected for the latter, with Gardner scoring and Ellsbury tagging out by Hammel.
"With one out, you take the run," Girardi said.
Lake got the first hit off Tanaka with one out in the second when he bunted toward the third base side, and the right-hander fielded it cleanly. Initially, first base umpire Manny Gonzalez called Lake out but Renteria requested a challenge and the call was overturned.
Hammel was nearly as good as Tanaka. He yielded three runs and five hits, striking out five.