NEW YORK -- On a day of prime pitching in the Big Apple, Masahiro Tanaka did more than his part.
"Obviously, I knew who I was going up against today," Tanaka said through a translator.
"I did hear about that right at the end of the game, so it's quite an accomplishment for a young pitcher," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
And quite a nice night for pitching in New York, right?
"Yes, it was," he said.
A two-out throwing error by shortstop Ian Desmond in the seventh inning broke a 1-all tie. New York went on to match its longest winning streak since 2012.
Bryce Harper hit his 20th home run for the Nationals, who have lost nine of 11. Washington fell in its first trip to Yankee Stadium since 2009.
Tanaka (4-1) gave up one run and five hits in seven innings, walking none and striking out six. No one on the Nationals had ever batted against him, and it showed with several timid, late swings.
Tanaka made his second start since wrist and forearm ailments put him on the disabled list. No ill effects, apparently.
"I think he enjoys the stage. I do," Girardi said. "I think that's one of the reasons he came to New York, too, because I think he likes the competition and the excitement of pitching here."
Scherzer (6-5) kept pace with Tanaka until the seventh.
"You always want to face the best," Scherzer said. "You don't measure yourself against the worst."
With two outs and runners on first and second, Alex Rodriguez hit a hard grounder in the hole, and Desmond made a dive to stop it. Desmond threw from one knee, trying to get a forceout at third, but the toss hit runner Ramon Flores as he neared the bag.
The ball caromed into the dugout for a run on the fielder's choice.
"I thought it's an outstanding baserunning play," Girardi said. "You tell a guy to read the fielder that's in front of you and kind of try to get in the way, in a sense, of the throw -- like Reggie (Jackson) used to."
Drew's homer in the third marked his 1,000th career hit, and he homered again in the eighth. He has four multihomer games lifetime, including one Friday night.
Drew began the day batting .168.
"It is what it is," he said. "It's a numbers game, and in April I did have some great at-bats and nothing for it."
Harper homered in his first game at Yankee Stadium, hitting a tying drive to center field in the fourth. The shot landed near Monument Park -- before batting practice, Harper toured the area, checking out the plaques and tributes to Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth and other Yankees greats.
Leading off the seventh with the score tied, Harper switched up his strategy and tried to bunt on a 1-2 pitch but fouled it off for strike three.
Nationals: CF Denard Span was a late scratch because of back spasms. He exited early Sunday, tried to get loose before this game and was pulled from the lineup. ... RHP Stephen Strasburg (neck tightness) threw a bullpen session earlier in the day. If he's OK, he'll pitch live batting practice later this week in Milwaukee. ... RHP Doug Fister (forearm tightness) will next throw in a rehab game for Double-A Harrisburg as he builds up his pitch count.
Yankees: OF Jacoby Ellsbury, out since May 20 because of a sprained right knee, is making progress, Girardi said. But he said it's too early to look at a return date.
Nationals: LHP Gio Gonzalez is 1-5 with a 7.30 ERA in seven career starts versus the Yankees. He'll pitch Wednesday afternoon against Nathan Eovaldi -- they matched up May 19 in Washington, and both were hit hard.
Yankees: Eovaldi (5-1, 4.16 ERA) is 0-4 in 11 career interleague starts. Harper and Desmond homered off him last month when the right-hander gave up five runs in 4 1/3 innings.
The Yankees signed righty reliever Sergio Santos to a minor league deal. He was 0-0 with a 4.73 ERA in 12 games for the Dodgers before being released in late May. The 31-year-old posted 30 saves for the White Sox in 2011.
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