Rangers Hand Yankees Their First Shutout in More Than a Year
During the month leading up to the July 31 trade deadline, Mike Minor heard often that he might wind up pitching in the Bronx.
Whatever the Yankees had in mind, this certainly wasn’t it.
Minor and two relievers became the first pitchers in 221 tries to shut out the Yankees’ vaunted lineup, helping the Texas Rangers to a 7-0 victory on Monday over the American League East leaders on Monday.
“He almost made it look easy,” Rangers Manager Chris Woodward said.
The Yankees had the second longest streak without being blanked since at least 1900, behind a 308-game stretch by the Babe Ruth-led Yankees of 1931-33. The Yankees were previously shut out June 30, 2018, by Chris Sale and the Red Sox.
Jose Trevino — a first-time battery mate with Minor — Delino DeShields and Shin-Soo Choo homered to back Minor (12-8), a resurgent All-Star who allowed five hits over seven and a third innings. The left-hander struck out five, walked one and threw 111 pitches before being pulled with two on in the eighth.
“He’s nasty, man,” Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier said. “His fastball plays up, which means it might say 92 but it feels faster than that, and he obviously threw every pitch that he wanted in every count that he wanted.”
Shawn Kelley replaced Minor and retired D.J. LeMahieu and Aaron Judge to end the eighth.
Emmanuel Clase shut down the heart of the order in the ninth to end the Yankees’ streak of 220 games with at least a run.
The 31-year-old Minor was drilled on the backside by LeMahieu leading off the first, but he recovered to make that out and many more after. He allowed just one runner past second base.
“It felt like he could execute pretty much any pitch in any location,” Woodward said. “With his stuff, he’s got elite stuff at times, when you get that plus the command, it’s tough.”
Minor, 31, and his deceptive, rising fastball were rumored to be a trade target for the Yankees in July. He said he had a hard time blocking out the speculation, but since sticking with the Rangers, he has posted a 2.83 earned run average in six starts.
“It was a little bit difficult to get through that and pitch,” Minor said, adding that “it feels good to be here. It felt good to be wanted, too, but at the end of the day, nothing happened and I’m still here.”
The Yankees’ scoring streak nearly fell Sunday when they trailed Oakland by 4-0 after the top of the eighth inning, but the Yankees rallied and won, 5-4, on a solo homer by Mike Ford in the ninth.
“Anytime we don’t score or have a good offensive showing, it’s always a little bit surprising just because our guys are so good, but it happens,” Manager Aaron Boone said. “When a good pitcher’s on top of his game, he can make it tough on you, credit to him.”
Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (10-8) grinded through six innings of two-run ball. He allowed seven hits, walked two and struck out five for the Yankees, who had won six of seven.
The game was delayed 2 hours 52 minutes by rain, but then played under mostly sunny skies.
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