NEW YORK (AP) — Masahiro Tanaka has been every bit the ace the New York Yankees went shopping for last winter.
Tanaka pitched a four-hitter for his first major league shutout and the Yankees got home runs from Yangervis Solarte and Mark Teixeira on Wednesday night, snapping a four-game skid with a 4-0 victory over the Mets.
"Overall, I think that today was my best day," Tanaka said through a translator.
Brian Roberts tripled twice and the Yankees finally beat their crosstown rivals after dropping six straight meetings.
The Mets took all four Subway Series games last year and won two slugfests in the Bronx this week. Back home at spacious Citi Field, however, their bats went silent again.
"You asked me about the home run barrage? We hit three of them tonight. They were just in the wrong park," manager Terry Collins said.
Tanaka (6-0) overwhelmed the Mets with his vast assortment of pitches while spoiling Rafael Montero's big league debut. The latest to arrive in a line of touted Mets pitching prospects, Montero threw six competitive innings but was no match for the $155 million rookie from Japan.
"In some ways, this is a David-and-Goliath matchup. One guy's never lost and the other guy's never pitched," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said before the game. "So, it's interesting. We'll see how many rocks Rafael's got."
Tanaka is 34-0 combined in Japan and North America over his last 42 regular-season starts. He did lose Game 6 of the Japan Series last year — before earning a save in Game 7.
"I just go up there and basically try to win every single game," Tanaka said.
The right-hander struck out eight and walked none, throwing 114 pitches during his first complete game in the majors. He lowered his ERA to 2.17 and gave the Yankees' taxed bullpen a much-needed break.
"I knew what was coming, but I couldn't hit it," Daniel Murphy said. "He's commanding all his pitches to all zones. The splitter is the equalizer. You don't see it that much, someone using it in any count like that."
Tanaka became the first Yankees rookie to begin his career 6-0 as a starter since Hall of Famer Whitey Ford went 9-0 in 1950. That sort of dependability has been sorely needed, with the Yankees already missing CC Sabathia and two other injured starters.
"He's been special," manager Joe Girardi said.