On a night intended to honor a legendary shortstop, it was the former All-Star shortstop of the Tribe that made the headlines.
Asdrubal Cabrera hit a bases loaded triple in the seventh inning to wake the Indians’ bats after Yankees starter Phelps had stymied the Tribe all evening. Cabrera’s triple tied the game and soon after the Indians took the lead and never looked back at Derek Jeter’s final game at Progressive Field. Cleveland After being shutout for six innings, the Tribe tallied nine runs in their final two at-bats to win Thursday night’s series finale, 9-3 over New York. Jeter was honored pre-game with a guitar and Lego portrait of himself.
Originally, it appeared as if the game would feature two young starters, Phelps and T.J. House. Each have assumed larger roles that originally planned at the beginning of the season for their respective clubs.
Each team took a shot at the opposing starting pitcher in the first inning, but each were able to work out of the early jam. New York threatened rookie, Tribe southpaw House when Jeter reached on an infield hit with one out. After House got Jacoby Ellsbury to line out, he gave up a single to Mark Teixeira and walked Brian McCann to load the bases. House struck out Francisco Cervelli to end the inning and quiet the threat.
Cleveland had their own chance to score in the first inning off Yankees starter David Phelps. Jason Kipnis started the frame with a single and after Cabrera struck out, Michael Brantley singled to left field to put two on, with just one out. However, Carlos Santana struck out and Lonnie Chisenhall flew out to left field, leaving the runners stranded.
Both starters settled down until House found himself in trouble in the fourth inning. With one out Cervelli singled before Zelous Wheeler lined a home run down the left field line to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead. Wheeler’s second homer of the season was the only runs of the inning, but New York made House work. Yangervis Solarte reached on Chisenhall’s 13th errof of the season, then Brett Gardener singled and Jeter walked before House got Ellsbury to ground out and end the inning. The lengthy inning had House’s pitch count up to 75 pitches after just four innings.
House did not survive much longer as the fifth inning—and his team’s defense—would seal his fate. After retiring the first two hitters, House hit Cervelli with a pitch. Then Wheeler hit a line drive to third base that Chisenhall dropped. Despite it being ruled a hit, it was a play that could have been made rather easily. Solarte then made the Indians pay for their mistakes with a single through the left side to make it 3-0 New York.
The third run of the evening would end House’s night. House pitched four and two-third innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and two walks, while striking out five. Vinnie Pestano came on to strike out Brendan Ryan and end the inning.
Meanwhile Phelps cruised through the Indians lineup. Phelps allowed a hit in each of the first five innings, but worked around each one, not allowing a run. After six innings, it appeared the Indians would be defeated by the young Phelps.
But in the top of the seventh inning, the Indians were finally able to take advantage. Chris Dickerson singled to start the inning—the fourth time in seven innings the Tribe had the leadoff man to an inning on—then Roberto Perez logged his first Major League Baseball hit. The two hits were enough to end Phelps evening and have Yankees manager Joe Girardi summon Matt Thornton from the bullpen.
Kipnis kept the line moving with a single off Thornton’s glove that died on the infield and loaded the bases before first-pitch swinging Cabrera tripled down the right field line to clear the bases and tie the game at three. It would remain tied for just a hitter until Brantley lined out to Ellsbury in center field. Ellsbury’s sliding catch stole a hit from Brantley, but Cabrera hustled home to give the Indians a 4-3 lead.
Thornton (0-3) was sent to the showers and Jim Miller finished the inning for the Yankees, but Phelps earned a tough-luck, no-decision after locking up the Tribe most of the evening. Phelps pitched six innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and three walks, while striking out five.
Carlos Carrasco (2-3) pitched a scoreless seventh inning for the win for Cleveland. Carrasco has dropped his season ERA to 3.74. Scott Atchison worked a three-up, three-down eighth inning—complete with striking out Jeter in his last Progressive Field at-bat.
Cleveland added to their lead in the bottom of the eighth inning off Miller and the Yankees. Dickerson remained hot and doubled to right field with one out. Dickerson is 7-for-15 since the Indians acquired him on Monday.Then, Perez hit his first big league home run, narrowly scraping over the wall, for a two-run blast. Perez’s homer extended the Indians lead to 6-3. The Indians kept the rally going, however.
Kipnis singled and stole second base for the second time on the evening, then came home on Brantley’s single off Jeter’s wrist. The ball caromed into center field. Santana then crushed a two-run home run to cap the scoring. The two-run blast was Santana’s 14th homer of the year and made it 9-3.
Atchison faced the first hitter of the ninth before giving way to Nick Hagadone, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning and the Indians had a split of the four game series. Cleveland pounded out 15 hits, including three from Dickerson and Kipnis and two more each from Cabrera and Brantley.
Friday, the Indians will open their final three game series of the first half of the season with the Chicago White Sox. Corey Kluber (8-6, 2.86) will take the mound for the Indians, while he’ll be opposed by the White Sox Hector Noesi (3-6, 4.90). Game time is slated to begin at 7:05 p.m. from Progressive Field.
Photo: Tony Dejak/AP Photo