Masahiro Tanaka’s gem was all for naught.


After a stellar performance from the Yankees’ right-hander, Tyler Clippard first nearly threw the game away on an errant pick-off throw, and then simply pitched it away by allowing the A’s to score a pair of runs in the eighth inning. Ultimately, the Yankees lost to the A’s, 4-1, on Friday night in the Bronx.


But before that Tanaka twirled a masterpiece. The Bombers’ starter not only threw 7.1 one-run innings, but he struck out a career-high 13 batters by using his splitter and slider to rack up K after K. And the one earned run came with Clippard on the hill. Tanaka allowed five hits and zero walks in the outing.


The dominant performance could not have been more unexpected. Tanaka had been roughed up so badly this season that many wondered if he was playing through injury. But then out of nowhere, he pitched like an ace.

Masahiro Tanaka returned to form for the Yankees.

Masahiro Tanaka returned to form for the Yankees.

(Frank Franklin II/AP)


Reliever Jonathan Holder surrendered two more runs in the ninth on a two-run bomb by Stephen Vogt.


The Yankees threatened in the ninth but only managed to scratch across one run.  


PLAY OF THE GAME


With one out in the eighth and a runner on third in a scoreless game, Rajai Davis hit a chopper to third base as Adam Rosales tried to scamper home. Headley grabbed the ball and fired home to Austin Romine, who tagged Rosales to preserve the tie.

A's starter Sean Manaea dominated the Yankees lineup.

A’s starter Sean Manaea dominated the Yankees lineup.

(Mike Stobe/Getty Images)


TURNING POINT


Jed Lowrie’s go-ahead single in the top of the eighth inning. With two on and two out, Clippard threw a changeup on the outer half of the plate but Lowrie pulled it to the right side and past the infielders for the game’s first run.


STAR OF THE GAME


Tanaka. Before the game, Joe Girardi said three important things to watch from his pitcher were his splitter, slider and swinging strikes. Well they turned out to be important, indeed. Seven of Tanaka’s 13 strikeouts came on his slider, and the other six were generated by his splitter, per Statcast.


STAT OF THE DAY


Tanaka recorded a season-high strikeout total in the third inning when he recorded his seventh K.

With his team already leading 2-0 in the ninth, Stephen Vogt clubbed a two-run home run to tack on some insurance.

With his team already leading 2-0 in the ninth, Stephen Vogt clubbed a two-run home run to tack on some insurance.

(Mike Stobe/Getty Images)


UNSUNG HERO


The Yankees struggled to get much offense against Sean Manaea, but nothing seems to stop Aaron Judge these days. The young slugger didn’t go yard against the A’s starter, but he did hit two singles. He also was walked by Santiago Casilla in the ninth.


M.I.A.


Matt Holliday. Not only did he go 0-4 in the loss, but he struck out three times.


NEXT GAME


The Yanks and A’s have a quick turnaround to a day game Saturday after Friday night’s contest. CC Sabathia will take the hill facing Jharel Cotton.

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