Kluber Shines on New York Stage, Sets Down Yanks; Indians 3, Yankees 0
Mike B. | On 09, Aug 2014
When Corey Kluber pitches, everything is a little better.
It seems the Indians walk a little taller and with a little more confidence as their 2014 ace takes the mound. Saturday afternoon, the sun shined bright, the Indians defense played well and the offense did enough to aid Kluber—who pitched a tough six inning effort against the veteran saavy New York Yankees.
Kluber and three hits from Jose Ramirez—including his first big league home run—was enough to help the Indians win 3-0 over the Yankees on national television. The win snaps a four-game losing streak for the Indians, dating back to Kluber’s last start five days ago.
The Indians took an early lead in the top of the second inning in an unexpected way. With two outs, Lonnie Chisenhall singled to center field off Yankees’ starter Brandon McCarthy to prolong the inning for Jose Ramirez. Ramirez hit a two-run home run, just into the right field seats to give the Indians a 2-0 lead. Ramirez’s first Major League home run gave the Indians a lead they would not relinquish. Chisenhall was 0-for-6 lifetime against McCarthy before the base hit that prolonged the inning for Ramirez to go deep.
Kluber finally gave up a base hit in the bottom of the fourth inning. After Derek Jeter was robbed of a hit on a diving play by Carlos Santana, Jacoby Ellsbury doubled down the left field line. Carlos Beltran flew out to center field before Chase Headley walked to put two on and two out, but Kluber struck out Stephen Drew to keep the Indians in front, 2-0 after four innings.
The always-patient Yankees tested Kluber’s mettle in the sixth inning. Already at 91 pitches, Jeter started the inning with an infield hit and Ellsbury dropped in a flare between the left and center fielders and over the shortstop’s head to put two on with no one out. Jeter’s hit was his 3,431st hit of his career, moving him into sixth place on the career hit list, passing Honus Wagner. Kluber dug deep, with the game in the balance, to strike out the side, setting down Beltran, Headley and Drew to end the inning.
Kluber (13-7) tossed six shutout innings, allowing four hits and a walk, while striking out 10 hitters. He tossed 109, tough pitches against a balanced and patient team. Kluber has now only allowed one earned run in his last 31 innings on the mound and has not lost a decision since June 30 in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.
Cleveland had a chance to add to their run total in the seventh inning but couldn’t find the necessary hit to open the offense. Nick Swisher singled to center field to start the inning. After Chisenhall struck out, Ramirez slapped his third hit of the game, registering his first three-hit game in the majors. That ended Brandon McCarthy’s day, to set up the lefty versus lefty matchup between Rich Hill and Chris Dickerson. Dickerson laced a single to right field that could have scored the run, however, Swisher hobbled around third base and had to stay put.
Jason Kipnis grounded to first base, where Headley made a diving play and got up and threw home to force out the hobbling Swisher. Hill was sent to the showers in favor of the Yankees’ Chase Whitley, who struck out Mike Aviles to end the inning. Swisher and David Murphy were each removed from the game due to apparent injuries. Murphy left in the sixth inning with right side discomfort.
McCarthy (7-11) pitched well enough to win most days. The right-hander who had won his first five decisions with the Yankees since being acquired from Arizona, pitched six and one-third innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, while striking out eight. McCarthy started the year 2-10 in Arizona and suffers his first loss as a member of the Yankees.
In the eighth inning the Tribe tallied the run they could not in the seventh. Michael Brantley hit his 17th home run of the season off the right field foul pole to start the frame. Brantley’s solo blast gave the Indians a 3-0 lead.
Scott Atchison pitched a scoreless seventh inning before giving way to Bryan Shaw in the eighth. Gardner doubled to left field for the second time on the afternoon to start the inning. After Shaw struck out Jeter on a controversial check-swing, he hit Ellsbury on the foot to put two on, with only one out. Shaw, showing signs of fatigue and over-usage this season, used his off-speed pitches to strike out Beltran and Headley to strand the runners. Indians pitchers struck out the Yankees 15 times on the afternoon, setting a new season high for New York.
Cody Allen pitched the ninth inning, logging his 15th save of the season and the Indians most recent four-game losing streak was dead. The Tribe held New York to just five hits in the game and snapped a seven game losing streak at Yankee Stadium. Cleveland improves to 58-59 on the season, while New York drops to 61-55.
Despite the win, the Indians may be forced to make a roster move before Sunday’s game to compensate for Murphy and Swisher’s injuries. Brantley has also been hampered with nagging injuries of late.
Sunday the Indians will try to win the series when Carlos Carrasco (3-4, 3.88) makes his first start since April 25. He’ll be opposed by New York’s Hiroki Kuroda (7-7, 3.97) in the series finale. After Sunday’s game, Cleveland has an off day before opening a two-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images