A day that began with snow in the outfield ended with a double whitewashing.
Pineda followed an overpowering outing by Tanaka with one of his own, pitching six innings of four-hit ball as the New York Yankees beat the Chicago Cubs 2-0 on a bitterly cold Wednesday night to complete its first doubleheader shutout sweep since 1987.
Tanaka (2-0) struck out 10 and allowed just two bunt hits - one replay aided - over eight innings in a 3-0 win in the opener of the day-night twinbill. Carlos Beltran homered for a third straight game, off Jason Hammel in the first inning of the Cubs‘ first regular-season game at the current Yankee Stadium.
“That split is not something you want to sit on. It’s not something you’re going to be able to handle,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “But, as it was coming out of the hand, as the guys were coming in, they were saying, ‘Gosh, it looks like a fastball. It ends up diving.’”
Brett Gardner and Scott Sizemore had RBI singles off Travis Wood (0-2) in the nightcap, helping the Yankees win for the fifth time in six games and handing Chicago its fourth straight loss.
New York had not won by shutout twice in one day since April 9, 1987, against Kansas City, according to STATS, and no team in the major leagues had done it since Minnesota swept Oakland on June 26, 1988.
The Cubs had not been blanked twice on the same day since Larry Jackson and Ray Sadecki pitched complete games for St. Louis on June 27, 1962.
Chicago was 9 for 61 (.148) at the plate, dropping its season average to .230, and struck out 17 times.
Pineda (2-1) was pitching for the first time since he was spotted with brown goo on his right hand during Thursday’s 4-1 win against Boston, touching off a debate about pitchers’ use of sticky substances to get better grips in cool weather. It was significantly colder Wednesday, with temperatures in the low-40s and a frigid wind, but Pineda’s hand was clean throughout.
“I didn’t do nothing,” Pineda said when asked if he used something to improve his hold on the ball. “I was focusing on throwing the ball good.”
And he did, despite pitching in some really harsh weather. In fact, he said it was the coldest he’s ever pitched in.
Anthony Rizzo’s triple with two outs in the sixth off Pineda was the Cubs‘ only extra-base hit of the day. Chicago totaled six hits against a pair of 25-year-old power pitchers who rarely walk batters. Tanaka (2-0) and Pineda each gave up one free pass.
“Both of them, they were good,” said Emilio Bonifacio, who was 0 for 8 on the day. “Their breaking pitches, they were pretty good, so it was really tough.”