Free Passes Allow Yanks to Walk to Victory; Yankees 10, Indians 6
Mike B. | On 08, Aug 2014
It started poorly and only got worse Friday night for the Cleveland Indians.
Trevor Bauer continued his road struggles and lacked control, while his defense continued to give the New York Yankees all the chances they needed to take advantage and coast to a 10-6 win. The Yankees scored five runs in the first inning off Bauer, then five more in the sixth against the weak, underside of the Tribe bullpen while former Indian Esmil Rogers was effective in a spot start for New York. Each time the Indians would scrape back into the game, they’d give the Yankees more runs via poor defense or walks.
The Indians played from ahead—if only for a moment—when they took a quick lead in the first inning. Jason Kipnis started the inning with a double to left field. Mike Aviles tried to bunt him to third base and could not, instead grounding to shortstop. After Michael Brantley lined out, Carlos Santana laced a two-out single to center field, scoring Kipnis and giving the Indians a 1-0 lead.
Cleveland’s lead was short-lived, however, courtesy of walks and errors from the Tribe. Bauer struck out Brett Gardner to start the inning and had Derek Jeter retired on a ground ball to shortstop, but Santana dropped the throw at first base. It was ruled a hit, but Jeter clearly would have been out had Santana dropped the ball. It was the start of seven straight Yankees reaching base, thus opening the flood gates and unraveling the game before it barely started.
Jacoby Ellsbury followed Jeter with a walk and Carlos Beltran singled to right field to plate Jeter and tie the game at one. Bauer then walked Brian McCann and Chase Headley—forcing in a run—before Stephen Drew singled to center field to make it 3-1, Yankees. Martin Prado hit a ground ball up the middle that Kipnis fielded, but his flip to Jose Ramirez at second base flew over his head and rolled to no one in the infield. The miscue was ruled a base hit and error, but allowed two more Yankees to score without the ball leaving the infield. New York led 5-1 after a frame and stranded two more runners in scoring position.
While the Tribe defense did Bauer no favors, he did little to help himself in the first inning. Bauer walked three Yankees in the first frame, including throwing 21 balls in a 44-pitch inning to start the game.
Cleveland showed a sign of life against the former Tribesman, Rogers. In the top of the third inning, Roberto Perez started the inning with a single. After Kipnis struck out looking and Aviles lined out, Brantley walked to put a pair on, with two outs. Santana struck out, however, leaving the deficit at four through three innings.
Bauer gave up a single and hit a batter in the third inning before getting out of trouble. However, the fourth inning would be the end of the road for the young, Tribe hurler. Gardner doubled to right field and Ellsbury walked to put a pair of runners on base, with just one out. Nick Hagadone came on to retire the last two outs, without any further damage. Bauer (4-7) pitched three and one-third innings, allowing five runs on six hits and four walks, while striking out three on 79 pitches. Bauer threw only 46 strikes.
The journeyman Rogers gave the Yankees a good, spot start. In his first start at the big league level this year, Rogers (2-0) pitched five innings, allowing just the first inning run on four hits and a walk, while striking out three. He did what Bauer could not, survive five innings, tossing just 88 pitches.
Rogers gave way to another former Indian, David Huff. His performance was not nearly as sharp, allowing a run in the sixth inning. Brantley doubled to start the inning, and after Santana struck out, Murphy singled to left to bring him home and cut the score to 5-2, New York. Cleveland could have scored more. Nick Swisher singled to left field to put a pair on, but Huff struck out Chris Dickerson for the second out before Shawn Kelley came on in relief. Kelley got Ramirez to line out to right field, with Ichiro Suzuki making a leaping catch to prevent the Tribe from scoring two more runs.
Hagadone finished the fourth inning and retired two outs in the fifth before John Axford took over. Axford was able to complete the fifth, but the sixth inning would be the Tribe’s final demise of the evening. He walked Ichiro and Gardner before Jeter sacrificed them into scoring position, after Ellsbury was intentionally walked, Carlos Beltran crushed a grand slam, home run into the right field seats. Beltran’s 14th homer of the season made it 9-2 for the New York and ended Axford’s evening.
Axford allowed four runs on three walks and a hit in just two-thirds of an inning. Marc Rzepczynski came on but fared no better. Francisco Cervelli hit a pinch-hit, ground rule double and Headley was hit-by-pitch before Drew grounded into a fielder’s choice. Drew’s grounder to Santana was thrown to second base but Ramirez threw the relay throw into the Yankees’ dugout for the Indians’ second official error of the evening. The errant throw allowed New York’s 10th run of the game to score for their second five-run inning of the night. Cervelli had two doubles in the game after replacing McCann, who left the game with a minor concussion.
As the game looked all but over, the Indians came charging back against Shawn Kelley and the Yankees in the seventh inning. Perez singled to start the inning, then Kipnis walked and Aviles singled to center field to load the bases. Kelley walked Brantley to force in a run and end his evening in favor of Adam Warren. Santana doubled down the left field line to plate two more Indians and Murphy hit a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 10-6. Santana had three hits in the game, while Murphy, Kipnis and Perez each had two.
Warren got the first out in the eighth inning before walking Ramirez. Rich Hill came on for the Yankees to complete the Indians reunion for the evening. Hill got Kipnis to ground into a double play to end the frame.
Josh Tomlin pitched the seventh inning for the Indians, not allowing a run. After allowing a double to Cervelli, he was replaced for Cody Allen. It was Tomlin’s first appearance out of the bullpen since he was moved out of the starting rotation. Cleveland used seven pitchers in the game.
Dellin Betances finished out the marathon, nine-inning game that took nearly four hours to complete for New York. Santana and Murphy each had two-out base hits to keep Cleveland hope alive in the ninth, but Swisher struck out to end the game.
New York needed just 10 hits to tally their 10 runs. They benefitted from two Indians errors and seven walks. Six of the seven Yankees walked came around to score. Cleveland drops to 57-59 on the season and is now 4.5 games back of the streaking Kansas City Royals. The Tribe appears on the cusp of playoff extinction as three teams are between they and the Royals.
Now losers of four straight, the Indians will try to snap their skid with Corey Kluber (12-6, 2.55) on the mound on Saturday afternoon. New York will counter with Brandon McCarthy (7-10, 4.37) at Yankee Stadium. The game is set to begin at 1:05 p.m and can be seen on FoxSports1.
Photo: Mike Stobe/Getty Images