Chances are that any time either player is complimenting the other, it was a good night for the Yankees.
It was Friday night when Rodriguez hit a tiebreaking home run in the bottom of the seventh inning and Tanaka pitched seven innings during New York's 4-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
"I think he knows really how to hit the ball," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "It seems like once the ball comes off his bat, it just kind of flies. Being in the outfield shagging (fly balls) before games, you can (see) how well he gets to that ball and lets that ball fly out, so it's pretty impressive."
Rodriguez delivered the decisive hit in New York's eighth win in 11 games when he drove a 1-0 sinker from left-hander Joe Beimel (0-1) over the right-center-field wall and into New York's bullpen. It was his 19th home run of the season and 673rd of his career.
"That's a big hit and Alex has that ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark in any field here," New York manager Joe Girardi said. "That's a big hit and he gets the second half started the right way."
It also was the veteran designated hitter's fourth straight go-ahead RBI and 3,022nd career hit, putting him one behind Hall of Famer Lou Brock for 24th on the all-time list.
Rodriguez's latest home run came after Tanaka allowed three runs and five hits. Two of those hits were home runs by Seattle third baseman Kyle Seager on consecutive at-bats but other than that Tanaka yielded little else in his second straight win.
"I think he's just been more consistent lately," Rodriguez said. "I think his fastball command is better. I thought his split-finger got better as the night went on. He's also mixing in his slider. He's doing a better job of damage control."
The home run was also the third allowed in 27 innings for Beimel, who had held Rodriguez hitless in four previous encounters.
"I knew as soon as he hit," Beimel said. "I'm surprised it didn't go farther than it actually did because it was pretty loud off the bat."
The best examples of damage control for Tanaka came after Seager's home runs.
After Seager homered in the third on a 1-0 curveball, Tanaka ended the inning with strikeouts of second baseman Robinson Cano and designated hitter Nelson Cruz. After Seager homered in the fifth on a first-pitch fastball, Tanaka retired Cano on a groundout to second base and that began a string of him retiring seven of the final eight hitters.
"If you take away Seager, he was really good," Girardi said. "He made two mistakes and Kyle's a dangerous hitter."
By getting the effective outing from Tanaka and the late home run from Rodriguez, the Yankees were able to turn the game over to Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller.
Betances struck out Seager and Cruz in an 11-pitch eighth. Miller gave up a one-out single to pinch hitter Mark Trumbo but struck out former Yankees prospect Jesus Montero and notched his 19th save in as many opportunities.
Before Rodriguez gave the Yankees their final lead, New York also scored on right fielder Chris Young's 11th home run in the second and RBI singles by third baseman Chase Headley and catcher Brian McCann in the fourth and fifth.
While Rodriguez's home run kept the Yankees surging, the Mariners continued their uneven play of late even after manager Lloyd McClendon held a pregame meeting and a full workout hours before the first pitch.
"Our guys had a lot of energy tonight," McClendon said. "Tanaka had a lot to do with that. Traditionally he's been very tough on us but I thought our at-bats tonight were pretty good off of him. We just left one pitch up and lost the ballgame."
The Mariners had two at-bats with runners in scoring position and left the bases loaded in the second during a scoreless game when catcher Mike Zunino chased a 1-2 slider.
Seattle also had a five-game winning streak in New York stopped as Cano and Cruz were a combined 0-for-8 with four strikeouts.
Seattle's Mike Montgomery allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings.
NOTES: The Yankees activated INF Brendan Ryan from the disabled list. He had missed nearly a month with an upper-back injury. New York also optioned INF Gregorio Petit back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, ending his fourth stint in the majors. ... Seattle recalled RHP Tom Wilhelmsen from Triple-A Tacoma, where he had spent the past two weeks. ... New York OF Carlos Beltran was 0-for-2 with a walk in his third rehab appearance for Class A Tampa as he recovers from an oblique injury. ... Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said LHP J.A. Happ will start Monday in Detroit. Happ was optioned to Class A Bakersfield on July 9 after struggling through four innings July 8.