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TOR@NYY: Tanaka strikes out 10 over six frames

Masahiro Tanaka's incredible season continues on Sunday as the Yankees will try to take the rubber match of a critical early-season series with the Orioles on Old Timers' Day at Yankee Stadium.

The Japanese right-hander's latest start was as good as any he's delivered during his Cy Young Award-quality campaign -- six innings of 10-strikeout, one-run ball in a win against the Blue Jays -- and he now leads the American League with 11 wins and a 1.99 ERA.

"Overall I think my stuff wasn't really there tonight," Tanaka said after his last start. "I just try to hang in there and try to keep the ball down as much as possible."

Despite his modesty, Tanaka (11-1) has been at his best of late. He's 5-0 with a 1.26 ERA in his last five starts. The Yankees are 12-2 overall in games Tanaka has started this season.

The righty has pitched himself to de facto ace status for New York this season as he's helped the team hang around in the division race. The O's will counter with their ace, who hasn't always pitched like one.

Chris Tillman began the month with an outing that lasted just one inning. In two starts since then, Tillman (5-4) has given up just four runs in 13 innings. The right-hander has lost each of those games, though.

"Not good enough, but I was able to make some pitches and command the fastball a little bit later in the game," Tillman said after surrendering three runs in a loss to Toronto on June 15. "Like I said, it was good, not good enough."

Yankees: Sabathia takes rehab to Florida
After a successful bullpen session prior to Saturday's game against the Orioles, CC Sabathia will head down to Tampa, Fla., on Sunday to continue his throwing program.

The left-hander hasn't appeared in a game since May 10, when he landed on the disabled with fluid in his right knee. He eventually needed a stem-cell injection in the knee.

"This is the time to test it," Sabathia said. "I will when I'm down there in Tampa. It's not just rehab, I really need to test and see if I can do it."

The lefty said he will wear a brace on his knee for the rest of the season and has been working to strengthen his quad and calf to relieve pressure from his hips.

The former AL Cy Young Award winner was 3-4 with a 5.28 ERA before landing on the DL.

"I think we've done a good job of that the past six, eight weeks," Sabathia said. "I feel better now that I have a little light [at the end of the tunnel] where I can see hopefully getting back out there healthy."

Orioles: Baltimore options Gausman
The O's made a somewhat surprising move early Saturday morning when they sent Kevin Gausman back down to Triple-A Norfolk. The starting pitcher had been 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA during his most recent stint in Baltimore.

However, the Orioles plan to add Gausman as their 26th player for Friday's doubleheader against the Rays, and he should stay on turn with the Major League rotation after that.

Gausman will stay in the Minors for six days before he comes up on Friday. After he starts Friday, Gausman will be sent back down for the remaining four days -- since a player is required to stay in the Minors for 10 days after a demotion unless they're recalled to replace an injured player on the 25-man roster -- before making his next scheduled turn for the Orioles.

"We're just taking advantage of some things," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. "I took the time in the advance meeting yesterday to tell the position players about why and how. I just want them to understand."

The O's added relief pitcher Brad Brach to the active roster.

"Obviously, Kevin's pitching real well," Showalter said, "and he'll continue to get that opportunity as long as he's pitching well."

Worth noting
• Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy hit his first home run of the season during Saturday's 6-1 win against New York. He had just 16 extra-base hits in his first 243 at-bats of the season.

• After not homering for the first 16 games of June, MLB home run leader Nelson Cruz blasted his second in three games against the Yankees on Saturday. All seven runs in the game were scored on home runs.

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