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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Masahiro Tanaka continues red-hot start for Yankees

06.18.14 at 8:13 am ET

Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Twins at Red Sox, 1:35 p.m. (NESN: WEEI-AM)
MLB: Cubs at Marlins, 12:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Giants at White Sox, 2 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Angels at Indians, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Minor League Baseball: Pawtucket at Rochester, 7 p.m. (NESN)
College baseball: World Series, Texas vs. UC Irvine, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
World Cup soccer: Australia vs. Netherlands, noon (ESPN, Univision; WEEI-AM)
World Cup soccer: Spain vs. Chile, 3 p.m. (ESPN, Univision; WEEI-AM)
World Cup soccer: Cameroon vs. Croatia, 6 p.m. (ESPN, Univision; WEEI-AM)


— Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is showing no signs of slowing down, as the Japanese right-hander silenced the first-place Blue Jays in leading New York to a 3-1 victory Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.

Tanaka, who took over the major league lead in wins with 11 (against one loss) and lowered his league-leading ERA to 1.99, allowed one run over six innings and struck out 10 Jays for his fifth double-digit strikeout game of the season.

Toronto’s lone run came on a Jose Reyes homer on the first pitch of the game.

“I think the leadoff homer probably hurt them more than it helped them,” Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner said. “It just made him mad, really, and when he gets mad he really battles and he doesn’t give in, doesn’t give them any pitches to hit.”

Tanaka said he didn’t think he pitched that well.

“Overall I think my stuff wasn’t really there tonight,” he said through a translator. “All I was trying to do was to hang in there and try to keep the ball down as much as possible.”

Gardner hit a two-run home run in the third inning to give Tanaka all the offense he needed.

“I told him after his last start that I was going to start leaving my glove in the dugout and just run out to left field,” Gardner said. “All you need to do is get him a couple of runs and we’€™ll get the win, and that’€™s what happened tonight.”

Said manager Joe Girardi: “It’s hard to say that his start isn’t as good as anyone who has pitched.”

LeBron James said he’s heading on vacation and won’t make any decision about his future until he returns.

The Heat star, who can opt out of his contract and become a free agent, spoke with the media after a final team meeting Tuesday following Miami’s five-game loss to the Spurs in the NBA Finals.

“I just want to win. That’s all that matters to me,” James said. “I haven’t even begun to even think about what my future holds or what I have in store. I will sit down with my team at some point, my family as well. Today definitely wasn’t the day.

“If my family is happy, then I’m happy and able to perform at a high level.”

Coach Erik Spoelstra talked to the players and told them to be proud of what they accomplished this season, even if they feel bad about falling short of the ultimate goal.

“There’s not a whole lot you can say that’s going to alleviate some of the pain and frustration that we’re all feeling right now,” Spoelstra said. “We understand why our team was built. There’s high expectations. And with that when you don’t get to where you want to go, there’s sometimes that pain that’s deep.”

— Former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, speaking to a group of reporters Tuesday in Chicago in advance of being honored by Boston University’s Sports Legacy Institute, said he is battling dementia, and his depression was so bad a few years ago that he had suicidal thoughts.

“I’m glad I don’t have any weapons in my house or else I am pretty sure I wouldn’t be here,” McMahon said. “It got to be that bad.”

McMahon said he believes his issues are part of the physical and mental toll of playing football. He is among a number of players who filed a lawsuit last month in California accusing NFL teams of illegally providing painkilling drugs to players to keep them on the field while disregarding their long-term health. He’s also part of the class-action lawsuit related to concussions that the NFL agreed to settle for $765 million — although a federal judge has expressed concern that the amount is too small and has yet to approve it.

McMahon said he discovered after being examined about five years ago that he had suffered a broken neck at some point, and he’s convinced it happened while he played with the Vikings toward the end of his career, in 1993. McMahon returned to the game after being sandwiched by two Giants players during a playoff game in New York but eventually left the game after being hit again and losing feeling in his legs. He said there’s “no doubt about it” that the team knew his neck was broken.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On June 18, 1953, the Red Sox scored 17 runs in the bottom of the seventh inning of a 23-3 victory over the Tigers. Which Sox outfielder had three hits in the inning?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “That might be one of the best catches — the whole sequence of what happened — that you ever see, just because of everything that’€™s involved in it, just to have the wherewithal to start with to even go after the ball.” Red Sox outfield coach Arnie Beyeler, on Brock Holt‘s catch of a fly ball that teammate Jonny Gomes could not locate

STAT OF THE DAY: 16 million — Approximate television audience in the United States for the Americans’ World Cup opening game Monday

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): The Diamondbacks, angry about one of their players taking a pitch to the back of the helmet and another nearly getting hit, exact revenge when Evan Marshall plunks Ryan Braun in the seventh inning, loading the bases and causing Marshall’s ejection. However, it backfires when reliever Brad Ziegler surrenders a go-ahead grand slam to Jonathan Lucroy on his first pitch and the Brewers go on to a 7-5 victory.

Fans in Cleveland search in vain for a foul ball off the bat of Angels hitter Raul Ibanez that landed in the vacant upper deck.

An American Legion baseball game in Juneau, Alaska, is delayed when a black bear is spotted wandering just outside the outfield fence.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Gene Stephens

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Paul McCartney was born on this day in 1942.

Read More: Brett Gardner, jim mcmahon, LeBron James, Masahiro Tanaka