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Minnesota Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe (24) catches a pop fly in front of first baseman Chris Parmelee on Saturday in New York. USA Today Sports

Tanaka, Yankees keep Twins offense in check

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NEW YORK – Masahiro Tanaka might modestly decline to call himself an ace for the New York Yankees, but every five days, opponents and teammates are saying the same thing.

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It’s the way he makes baseballs seemingly disappear and commands all of his pitches.

Saturday was another instance of Tanaka doing both as he allowed an unearned run over eight dominant innings and picked up the victory when Brian McCann’s go-ahead RBI single with one out in the eighth lifted the Yankees to a 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

“No, I don’t feel that I’m the ace,” Tanaka said through an interpreter.

Said Yankees manager Joe Girardi: “He was outstanding today. He didn’t give up an earned run in eight innings and we win the game 3-1.”

Tanaka (8-1) might not feel that way, but two months into a seven-year, $155 million contract, he has allowed fewer than three runs while pitching at least six innings for the 11th straight start.

It is the longest active streak in the majors and since earned runs became an official statistic in 1913, only Tanaka and Montreal’s Steve Rogers (1973) have put together such a streak to begin a career.

“He did what he was supposed to,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. “The guys said the ball was disappearing.”

Said Tanaka: “What I’m trying to do is go and get as many zeros on the scoreboard.”

Tanaka’s latest win saw him allow an unearned run in the first on left fielder Josh Willingham’s RBI single and three other hits. None came after the fifth, when he recorded five of his nine strikeouts and both of his double play grounders.

“Another great performance,” McCann said. “He might have thrown a complete shutout (without the unearned run), but I feel like I say this every time. He commanded both sides of the plate, up and down. I can’t say enough about him.”

MIN ab r h bi NYY ab r h bi

Dozier 2b 4 1 0 0 Gardner lf 4 0 2 0

Escobar ss 4 0 2 0 Jeter dh 4 0 2 0

Mauer dh 4 0 0 0 Ellsbry cf 3 1 1 0

Wllnghm lf 3 0 1 1 Tixira 1b 2 0 0 0

Arcia rf 4 0 0 0 Roberts ph 1 1 0 0

Plouffe 3b 4 0 1 0 McCann c 4 0 2 1

Parml 1b 4 0 0 0 Soriano rf 3 0 0 0

Pinto c 2 0 0 0 Suzuki pr 0 0 0 0

Hicks cf 3 0 0 0 Solarte 2b 4 1 3 1

Johnson 3b 4 0 2 1

Ryan ss 4 0 0 0

Totals 32 1 4 1 Totals 33 3 12 3

Minnesota 100 000 000 — 1

NY Yankees 000 100 02x — 3

E—K.Johnson 1, Pinto 1, Solarte 1, A.Soriano 1. LOB—New York 9, Minnesota 6. 2B—Jeter (5), McCann (6). HR—Solarte (6). SB—Ellsbury (15).

IP H R ER BB SO

Minnesota

Correia 6 9 1 1 1 3

Duensing L, 1-2 1 Z\c 2 2 2 2 2

Burton X\c 1 0 0 0 1

NY Yankees

Tanaka W, 8-1 8 4 1 0 2 9

Dv.Robertson S, 12 1 0 0 0 0 3

Inherited runners-scored—Burton 3-1. WP—Tanaka 2 (4).

Umpires—Home, Jim Wolf; First, Brian Gorman; Second, David Rackley; Third, Tony Randazzo.

T—3:4. A—44,346 (52,325)

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