Top five Yankees games of the first half
The Yankees have done well to overcome a host of injuries to stay within striking distance of Baltimore. Take a look back at some of the best games of the season so far.
June 11, 2014: Tanaka shuts down the Mariners
Facing Robinson Cano and the Mariners in Seattle, Masahiro Tanaka finished off his second complete game of the season with a superlative effort at Safeco Field. With the win, Tanaka became the second pitcher in baseball to reach 10 wins at that point. Cano spoiled Tanaka's shutout with a two-run homer in the ninth inning, but the Japanese right-hander still needed just 110 pitches to complete the game.
First baseman Mark Teixeira provided the offense, drilling a three-run home run for his 15th of the season. After the game, Teixeira had nothing but praise for the Yankees ace, saying, ''If he keeps this up, he's going to have one of the greatest first years in baseball of any pitcher that has ever played this game. I would love to see it.''
July 9, 2014: Ellsbury's homer lifts Yanks in extras
With Masahiro Tanaka being sent to the disabled list earlier in the day, the Yankees needed something to boost their spirits when they met the Indians in Cleveland. Jacoby Ellsbury provided just the thing, drilling a solo shot in the 14th inning to help the Yankees earn a 5-4 win. The home run off Vinnie Pestano was Ellsbury's sixth of the season.
The game also marked the Yankees debut for Brandon McCarhy, who was acquired for Vidal Nuno in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. McCarthy was solid for New York, allowing four runs in 6 1/3 innings, but three of those runs were unearned as a result of a throwing error by Mark Teixeira in the first inning.
April 24, 2014: Yankees rout Sox to take series at Fenway
It was another first-half night in which the Yankees desperately needed a win to fight off bad news, as Ivan Nova opted for season-ending surgery and Michael Pineda suspended for pine tar use. But CC Sabathia stepped up to send the Yankees to an easy win in Boston, 14-5. Sabathia struck out eight over six innings for one of his better outings of the season, and the Yankees' offense did the rest.
Playing in his old stomping grounds, Jacoby Ellsbury showed the Fenway faithful what they were missing, contributing with three hits and three RBI to help power New York to the series win.
June 20, 2014: Walk-off blast for Beltran
After a fast start, Carlos Beltran's season has been slowed by injuries. The veteran outfielder has battled bone spurs in his elbow, lingering knee pain before suffering a broken nose during a batting practice accident. In other words, it's been that kind of year.
But Beltran still showed off his uncanny ability for clutch hitting in a critical win over the division-leading Orioles in June. With the Yankees down to their final out, Beltran launched a drive off Zach Britton over the left-field wall to give New York a thrilling win.
May 14, 2014: Tanaka sizzles in Subway Series debut
Masahiro Tanaka has already proven he was ready for the Major Leagues, but then showed he could handle the bright lights of the Subway Series in a win over the Mets in May. After dropping the first two legs of the Subway Series at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees went to Citi Field having lost six straight to their crosstown rivals. But Tanaka stepped up in a big way to end that streak, silencing the Mets' offense, striking out eight to finish off a shutout.
Making his first start in a National League park, Tanaka also got his first at-bats in the big leagues, lacing a single off Jose Valverde in the eighth inning to finish off his impressive evening. The win moved Tanaka to 4-0 on the young season, and showed he was able to summon his best efforts for the biggest stages.