Kluber Outduels Sabathia in Battle of Past Tribe Cy Winners; Indians 5, Yankees 2

Corey Kluber gave the Cleveland Indians the start they had been waiting nearly a week for and his outing was backed by three home runs as the Tribe defeated the New York Yankees 5-2 on Saturday afternoon.

In the matchup between two of the four Cy Young Award winners in Indians history, Kluber came away victorious against CC Sabathia, the long-time Cleveland southpaw. It ended a string of five consecutive short and troubling starts by Indians starting pitchers.

Cleveland actually trailed early in the game before reeling off five unanswered runs off of New York pitching. In the second against Kluber, Starlin Castro singled with one out and scored two batters later on an RBI-double from Gary Sanchez to give New York the lead. Aaron Hicks singled with two outs, moving Sanchez to third, setting up an easy run on a wild pitch by Kluber to give New York a 2-0 lead.

Sabathia worked easily through the first three innings, giving up a walk in each of the first two before the Indians struck in the fourth. Jason Kipnis homered to right-center to lead off the frame, but Cleveland wasted a single from Francisco Lindor and another with one out by Carlos Santana as Jose Ramirez grounded into a double play.

After Kluber struck out the side in order in the bottom of the frame, the Indians knotted it up at two in the fifth. Brandon Guyer was plunked for the 24th time this season, matching his career high, but was thrown out trying to advance on a ball in the dirt by Sanchez. Abraham Almonte walked, moved to second on a groundout, and scored on a single through the left side by Rajai Davis to tie the game.

Napoli - AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek
Napoli – AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek

Cleveland took the lead and never looked back in the top of the sixth as Mike Napoli took Sabathia deep the opposite way. His 28th home run of the season, this one to right center, gave the Indians a 3-2 lead.

Davis replicated the feat in the seventh off of former Indians reliever Anthony Swarzak. With one down, he jumped on the second pitch of his at bat and cleared the wall in left with a solo shot to give the Indians a big insurance run on their third homer of the afternoon. After leaving two on in the eighth, Cleveland added one more in the ninth as Davis walked with one out, moved to second on a passed ball, and scored on a single to right by Kipnis off of reliever Nick Goody.

Andrew Miller, making his first appearance against his former club, gave up a leadoff single to Brett Gardner in the bottom of the ninth, but struck out Jacoby Ellsbury and Mark Teixeira swinging before a groundout from Brian McCann to earn his tenth save of the season and his first with the Tribe.

Cleveland improved to 62-46 with the victory, a much needed one as the club had dropped four of its last five games. New York fell back to the .500 mark at 55-55 with the loss.


As plenty of people speculate what is wrong with the Indians starting rotation and what they would need to do to overcome the recent bad spell on the field, Kluber (11-8, 3.22 ERA) followed the doctor’s orders and took a big bite out of the Big Apple on Saturday.

He only had one difficult inning on the afternoon and could have gone into the ninth based on his pitch count. He was credited with eight innings of work, allowing two runs on five hits with one walk and eight strikeouts. He threw a costly wild pitch in that difficult second inning and fired 67 of 100 pitches for strikes.

Kluber faced the minimum in seven of the eight innings he pitched on the day.

Sabathia - Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Sabathia – Jim McIsaac/Getty Images


Sabathia (6-9, 4.18) continued his struggles of the last six weeks on Saturday as he issued four free passes and six hits over five and two-thirds innings. He fell to 1-5 over his last nine starts, dating back to June 22. He struck out five for the third straight start, but also allowed two homers for the third straight start. He gave up just three earned runs, one of his better performances in that span, but it was still too much for his Yankee teammates to overcome against a dominant Kluber.


Napoli pushed his hitting streak to eight straight with his homer off of Sabathia in the sixth. He has hit six homers over the course of the last eight games.

Ramirez has now hit safely in eleven games in a row with his 1-for-4 effort on the day. It took him until his final at bat, when he singled to left in the eighth.


As has been the trend over the last week, Cleveland recalled another arm from the minors to help out the depleted MLB bullpen. This time, it was Shawn Morimando who was sent out as fellow Columbus left-hander T.J. House replaced him in the Tribe ‘pen.


New York did similar prior to the game on Saturday, sending Johnny Barbato back to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and recalling reliever Chasen Shreve.


Sunday will be the rubber match between the two clubs as Cleveland looks for the series win. The Yankees have already claimed the season series, but the Indians can decrease the advantage with a win. Carlos Carrasco (7-5, 3.12) will take the mound for Cleveland while New York will send out the right-handed Masahiro Tanaka (7-4, 3.46).

Game time is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET.

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

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