Masahiro Tanaka pitched eight scoreless innings and Yu Davish fanned 10 batters as the New York Yankees beat Texas 2-1 in the first Major League Baseball showdown between the two Japanese aces.
Tanaka got help from batter Ronald Torreyes as he delivered the game-winning hit by singling with two outs in the bottom of the 10th for the Yankees in Friday’s game at Yankee Stadium.
While it was the first time the Rangers pitcher Darvish and Tanaka faced each other in the majors, it was the fifth overall matchup.
They opposed each other four times in Japan, and in the last meeting on July 2011, when both pitchers went the distance.
Although Tanaka took a no-decision and is winless in his last eight starts, he looked more like the pitcher who tossed a three-hitter at Fenway Park than the pitcher who began the game with a 6.34 ERA.
“Everything,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of what was working for Tanaka.
Tanaka allowed three hits and retired 16 straight batters at one point.
Darvish was even better, though he exited after the seventh because of tightness in his arm. Before leaving the game, Darvish tied a season high with 10 strikeouts and allowed two hits.
“They were two brilliant Japanese pitchers that had faced off before, been stars in the Japanese league and they’re stars here,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said.
It was the 15th game in major league history involving two pitchers from Japan. Seven of those games have involved the Yankees and three occurred against Darvish, who opposed Hiroki Kuroda in 2012 and 2013.
“We both pitched great,” Darvish said. “So there may be something, but I was trying to focus on my pitching.”
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