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Yankees handle Nationals for seventh straight win

Jun 10, 2015 - 4:15 AM Bronx, NY ( - Brian McCann's two-run double highlighted a big seventh inning that sent the New York Yankees to a seventh consecutive win, a 6-1 decision over Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals.

The Yankees scored four times in the seventh to break a 1-1 duel between Scherzer and Masahiro Tanaka, who turned in a second straight outstanding start since returning from a forearm strain.

Tanaka (4-1) yielded just one run -- a Bryce Harper solo homer -- and five hits over seven very efficient innings. The New York ace struck out six without a walk and was backed by Stephen Drew's two solo homers and three-hit nights from McCann and Ramon Flores.

"Just really consistent again," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "I thought they were aggressive on (Tanaka), and he made really good pitches early in the count."

Scherzer (6-5) was charged with four runs in 6 2/3 frames while being victimized by a throwing error from Ian Desmond that opened the floodgates for New York's seventh-inning outburst.

He also didn't get much help from a Washington offense that mustered only six hits in the club's ninth loss in 11 games.

"Tanaka threw a great game. He shut us down pretty well," said Harper, who finished 2-for-4. "He knows how to pitch, he pitches to his strengths and it doesn't matter who's up there."

The two elite hurlers were locked into a 1-1 tie that was finally broken in the Yankees' half of the seventh. One-out singles from Flores and Brett Gardner put the lead run in scoring position, though both remained there after Chase Headley lined out hard to right.

Alex Rodriguez then hit a hard grounder on Scherzer's 116th pitch that Desmond snared on a dive, but hit Flores in the back with the throw. Flores raced home as the ball squirted into foul territory to put the Yankees ahead.

Scherzer was removed for Matt Thornton, who served up McCann's two-run double down the right-field line after Mark Teixeira was walked to load the bases. Carlos Beltran followed with a single to left center that plated Teixeira for a 5-1 New York lead.

Dellin Betances kept the Yankees comfortably in front with a scoreless inning in relief of Tanaka, and Drew tacked on an insurance run by taking Taylor Hill deep in the bottom of the eighth.

The Yankees had generated little against Scherzer over the first five innings of play, with Drew's blast on an inside fastball that landed in the right- center field bleachers in the third the lone exception. The homer was Drew's 1,000th career hit.

Tanaka was just as stingy, retiring nine straight Nationals to begin the game and facing the minimum until Harper launched a 414-foot drive over the wall in center to knot the score in the fourth.

Scherzer was able to work out of trouble in the sixth to keep the contest tied. Teixeira doubled with one out and took third on a McCann single that preceded Beltran's sinking liner to center that Michael Taylor trapped, but Teixeira held and McCann was forced at second. Scherzer then struck out Didi Gregorius to escape the jam.

Game Notes

Drew has homered four times in his last four games ... The Yankees have won seven straight at home as well, their longest streak in the Bronx since a seven-game run from Sept. 15-22, 2012 ... Tanaka's effort was the eighth straight by a Yankee starting pitcher of allowing two earned runs or less ... Tanaka improved to 4-1 with a 1.49 ERA in five career interleague starts ... Headley extended his hitting streak to nine games with an eighth-inning single ... The Nationals scratched center fielder Denard Span from the starting lineup due to back spasms.