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Tanaka allows 2 hits over 7 innings, Young hits grand slam and Yankees rout Rays 9-0

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ST. PETERSBURG, Florida — Faced with questions about his elbow and his velocity this season, Masahiro Tanaka put together his best performance against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Tanaka allowed two hits over seven innings, Chris Young hit a grand slam and the New York Yankees routed the Rays 9-0 Saturday night.

"I thought he had all his pitches, which I think was the big difference," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Tanaka (2-1) struck out eight and walked none. He gave up a single to David DeJesus leading off the first, then retired 15 in a row before Brandon Guyer's double opening the sixth. After failing to reach the sixth inning in his first two starts, Tanaka lowered his ERA from 7.00 to 3.94.

"I'm happy with the results," Tanaka said through a translator. "I'm happy with the way I pitched. I think it's all about the mechanics. The mechanics was working well."

The Japanese star missed most of the second half of last season with a partially torn elbow ligament and had faced questions this spring about his decreased velocity. He reached 93 mph against the Rays.

"I really think it's important for him to see when I have my stuff, I'm going to pitch extremely well, and that's what he did," Girardi said.

This was the first time since joining the Yankees that Tanaka had a start of two hits or fewer while walking nine.

David Carpenter and Branden Pinder completed a three-hitter, the first shutout for the Yankees since Sept. 22 against Baltimore.

Young homered off Grant Balfour in a seven-run seventh, his third career slam.

"A good ballgame that turned somewhat ugly," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

Brian McCann put the Yankees ahead in the sixth with his third hit, a two-run, two-out triple off Jake Odorizzi (2-1) that followed one-out walks to Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez. McCann's fourth career triple came in his 4,389th at-bat.

PHOTO: New York Yankees' Chris Young, right, is congratulated by Brian McCann, left, Chase Headley (12) and Brett Gardner (11) after hitting a grand slam during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla., Saturday, April 18, 2015.(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
New York Yankees' Chris Young, right, is congratulated by Brian McCann, left, Chase Headley (12) and Brett Gardner (11) after hitting a grand slam during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla., Saturday, April 18, 2015.(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Odorizzi gave up three runs and five hits in six-plus innings. He was the third AL pitcher in the last 100 years to start the season by winning consecutive starts of six-plus innings, two hits or fewer and one run or less.

"He threw a great game," Odorizzi said of Tanaka. "If I gave up one or I gave up 10, it probably wouldn't have mattered tonight."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Yankees: Gardner (right wrist) was in the starting lineup for the first time since Monday. ... RF Carlos Beltran (cold) was scratched.

Rays: Evan Longoria (bruised left hip) started at third base after being the DH Friday. ... LHP Drew Smyly (left shoulder) is to start Sunday for Double-A Montgomery and should return this month. ... Closer Jake McGee (right elbow) could join Triple-A Durham Monday.

GREAT STARTS

The other two AL pitchers to start the season with consecutive winning starts of six-plus innings, two hits or less and one run or fewer in the last century are Texas' Alexi Ogando (2011) and Kansas City's Runelvys Hernandez (2003). Roger Clemens did in the NL with Houston in 2004.

MOVING DAY

Yankees: LHP Matt Tracy was claimed off waivers by Miami and RHP Joel De La Cruz was sent outright to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Rays: After the game, Balfour was designated for assignment and RHP Brandon Gomes had his contract selected from Durham.

UP NEXT

Yankees: In nine road starts with New York, Sunday starter Michael Pineda has 41 strikeouts and two walks over 43 innings. Tampa Bay got both walks last Sept. 16. ... The Yankees can complete their first road sweep (three games or more) against the Rays since Sept. 13-15, 2005.

Rays: Longoria is 0 for 11 with two walks and four strikeouts against Pineda.

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Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Brandon Guyer catches a fly out from New York Yankees' Chris Young during the first inning of a baseball game in St. Petersburg, Fla., Saturday, April 18, 2015.(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
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