Yankees Knock Off Tribe With Late Inning Rallies; Yankees 7, Indians 4
Bob Toth | On 12, Jul 2018
What on paper appeared to be an impressive pitching duel between Cleveland’s Corey Kluber and New York’s Luis Severino instead served as a display of offense as the Yankees rallied for three late inning runs to break a 4-4 tie and held on for a 7-4 win on Thursday night from Progressive Field.
A matchup of two of the top three finishers in the American League Cy Young voting a season ago looked nothing like it as both offenses provided early run support for their respective right-handers. While Severino would exit midway through the contest after the Indians tied the game at four against him, it would be damage done against Kluber in his final inning of work in the eighth that would serve as the difference on the night.
Cleveland jumped out to an early lead against the hard-throwing Severino, plating a pair of first inning runs. Francisco Lindor lined the second pitch of the bottom of the first inning off of the base of the wall in right for a leadoff double. He advanced to third on a groundout by Michael Brantley and scored on a single by Jose Ramirez to give the Tribe the lead. Ramirez would be caught stealing before Edwin Encarnacion exited stage left with a deep fly to the front of the bleachers to make it a 2-0 game.
Kluber retired the first six in order before the Yankees got to him in the third on a pair of big extra base hits. Miguel Andujar sent the first pitch of the inning into left field for a leadoff double. Kluber struck out the next two batters, but Brett Gardner’s big night at the plate was just beginning as he made up for his strikeout to start the game by launching a two-out, two-run home run to right to tie the game at two.
The Indians responded with a run in the bottom of the inning to reclaim the lead. Brantley singled and stole second after Ramirez lined out. Encarnacion drew a walk to put two on for Yonder Alonso, who drove in the go-ahead run with a single to shallow left-center. Brantley scored on the play, but the throw to the plate was cut off and Encarnacion was thrown out attempting to move to third on the relay throw. Jason Kipnis lined out with a runner still at first to end the inning.
The seesaw game swung out of balance back in favor of the Yankees in the next half inning. Didi Gregorius got his first hit of the season against the Indians and made it count, hitting a solo home run to the seats in front of the bullpens to tie the game at three. Giancarlo Stanton singled to center and moved all the way to third as a sacrifice from Aaron Hicks turned into a throwing error by catcher Yan Gomes. With runners on the corners, Greg Bird delivered a big double to right-center, scoring Stanton and putting a pair in scoring position. Andujar walked to load the bases, still with nobody out, before Kluber got a swinging strikeout of Andrew Romine and a perfectly placed liner to Alonso at first, as he stepped on the bag for the easy inning ending unassisted double play.
Kluber worked around a one-out double by Aaron Judge in the fifth, stranding him at third by getting the dangerous Stanton swinging. The Indians then struck through for another run against Severino. Lindor led off the inning with a single but was erased on a double play grounder by Brantley. Ramirez came through with the big hit, driving his 28th home run of the season over the wall in right to tie the game 4-4. The line drive gave Ramirez more home runs before the All-Star break than any other player in the 118-year history of the Cleveland Indians organization.
Severino was done after five, but the Indians could not strike through against the Yankees bullpen. Adam Warren worked around an error in the sixth. David Robertson pitched a perfect seventh with three grounders and Dellin Betances retired three in a row after walking Ramirez to start the home half of the eighth.
Kluber, pitching with the game knotted back up, kept the Yankees off of the board in the sixth and seven, allowing just a two-out single to Andujar in the sixth. In a surprising move after the struggles throughout the game, Kluber returned to the mound for a fourth trip against the heart of the Yankees order. Gregorius walked on four straight pitches to set the stage. Stanton flied to right for the first out, but Hicks delivered the at bat and hit of the night, working Kluber full and driving the eighth pitch of the battle off of the wall in straightaway center to give the Yankees a 5-4 lead. Oliver Perez relieved Kluber, but Hicks stole third and jogged in on a sacrifice fly to left by Bird to make it a two-run edge. Neil Ramirez retired the final out, but the damage had been done.
After the Indians went down quietly against Betances, the Yankees tacked on one more for insurance in the ninth. Ramirez struck out Romine (his fourth strikeout of the night) before turning the game over to Tyler Olson. He struck out the first batter that he faced, but Gardner sent a 3-1 fastball down the right field line and off of the foul pole to make it 7-4. Zach McAllister retired Judge on a grounder to send the game to the bottom of the ninth.
A beloved matchup kicked off the final inning, as Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman faced pinch-hitter Rajai Davis. Chapman would win that rematch on five pitches, striking him out swinging. Gomes grounded to third for the second out before pinch-hitter Brandon Guyer popped to short for the final out.
The Yankees moved to 61-31 on the season and 28-18 on the road this season. The Indians fell to 50-42 with the loss in the first of four from Progressive Field this weekend and are now 29-18 at home.
Kluber was able to spare the bullpen from some extended work after he escaped the bases loaded jam in the fourth inning as Olson was warming in the ‘pen. He turned in seven and one-third innings, possibly left on the mound due to his reputation and to the intermittent success of the bullpen throughout the season. He would be charged with six runs on eight hits with two walks and nine strikeouts.
“I thought he was fine. He was at 100 [pitches],” said manager Terry Francona. “I thought he was throwing the ball well. I thought he was in command of what he was doing.”
The loss for Kluber was his fifth of the year and also ended a long string of success for him and for the Indians when the Cleveland offense gave its ace four runs of support or more on the mound. It ended a streak of 74 consecutive wins for the Indians in that situation, marking their first well-supported Kluber start loss since June 5, 2013, when New York defeated Kluber and the Tribe at Yankee Stadium.
“We talked after the seventh and they asked if I was good and I said ‘Yeah’. I felt fine,” said Kluber after the game. “Leadoff walks aren’t a good thing and Hicks had a good at bat, fouling off pitches and getting one I kind of left up in the zone…They’re one of the best offensive teams in baseball. The whole lineup one through nine is a good lineup. There’s not really any letdown from the leadoff hitter to the nine hitter.”
SEVERINO’S SHORT EFFORT
For the second straight start, Severino was able to only go five innings as he was worked hard by the Indians throughout his 15 outs of work. He allowed nine hits and issued a walk while throwing 94 pitches. He got just seven swinging strikes throughout the night and did not register a strikeout until the final out of the fifth (the final batter he faced on the night) when he retired Encarnacion on strikes for his only K of the outing.
“We did a great job against Severino,” shared Francona. “He’s got exceptional stuff. We scored, we made him throw pitches, and we got him out after five.”
The Yankees remain the winningest club among all visitors during the Jacobs Field/Progressive Field era. They improved to 62-37 all-time in the regular season in Cleveland since 1994 with the win.
The Yankees are now 4-0 against the Indians this season and have already claimed the season series, with three more games left this weekend.
The two clubs will get back to work in a less hyped pitching matchup on Friday night. Shane Bieber (4-1, 3.47 ERA) will get the starting nod for the Indians, while Domingo German (2-4, 5.06) will start for the Yankees. Bieber looks to bounce back from his first Major League loss his last time out, while German will attempt to channel his previous success against the Indians from back in May, when he fired six hitless innings in the first start of his Major League career.
First pitch from what could be a sold out Progressive Field is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.
Photo: AP Photo/Tony Dejak