In the first frame, Anthony Rendon cranked a two-out solo shot off Tanaka. In Howie Kendrick lead off with a double to the left-field corner.
Tanaka wasn't great but he kept the Yankees in it. He struck out just two batters -- his lowest whiff total of the season -- and had his shortest outing since going five innings vs. Miami on April 17. Tanaka threw only 72 pitches and went hitless in two at-bats.
Then Pedro Severino crushed a double and scored Stevenson to expand Washington's lead to three.
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It will resume at 5:05 p.m. Wednesday.
After Tanaka struck out Mark Reynolds, Andrew Stevenson hit a hard grounder between shortstop and third base. Didi Gregorius went at it with his backhand and touched it but couldn't stop it. It rolled into left and Kendrick scored. Stevenson was -- perhaps generously -- given a hit. That made it 2-0 Washington.
WEDNESDAY: Yankees lefty CC Sabathia (2-0, 2.33 ERA) vs. Nationals righty Max Scherzer (7-1, 1.69 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. at Nationals Park.
Austin brought Giancarlo Stanton, following his 1,000th career hit, across the plate the sixth with a sacrifice fly to the center field warning track. That tied the game.
The inning started with three straight base runners -- Aaron Judge walked, Stanton singled and Sanchez walked. Gregorius grounded into a force out -- first base to home -- before Austin knotted the score.
In the next at-bat, Tyler Austin crushed his sixth homer of the year, a two-run shot to the right-field seats.
Rain was expected all night. It started coming down hard in the fifth inning. After the top of the sixth, the grounds crew pulled out the tarp. The waiting game was on.
The Yankees fell behind, 3-0, before battling back to tie it come the fifth inning.
Manager Aaron Boone pulled Tanaka before his at-bat to lead off the sixth, opting for Brett Gardner pinch hitting against a Nationals righty reliever.
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WASHINGTON -- The Yankees-Nationals game was tied at 3-all when it was suspended after 5 1/2 innings due to rain on Tuesday night.
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The rain delay
The Yankees' charge back started in the fourth inning. To start the frame, Didi Gregorius lifted a fly ball to left-center field. Left fielder Matt Adams and center fielder Andrew Stevenson went after it. It looked like it should have been Adams' ball, but neither heard the other calling for it. The collided. The ball popped into the air and fell to the ground. Gregorius was safe via error given to Stevenson.
By Brendan Kuty