Two first inning runs would be all the support he would get, but Trevor Bauer and the Cleveland bullpen would make the runs stand up as the Indians defeated the New York Yankees, 2-1, in game one of Wednesday’s doubleheader from Yankee Stadium.
Bauer and left-hander Jaime Garcia faced off against one another in the day’s first game and the Indians gave Bauer a pair of runs of support before he even took the mound. Francisco Lindor started the game with a single to right. He stole second after a fly out by Brandon Guyer and moved to third on a single to left by Jose Ramirez. A passed ball by Gary Sanchez allowed Lindor to score and Ramirez to move into scoring position and Yandy Diaz delivered the second run of the frame with a single to center.
Bauer allowed a pair to reach in each of the first two innings before the Yankees finally drove a run home. Aaron Hicks drew his second walk of the afternoon with one out in the third and moved to second on a groundout by Sanchez. Hicks moved up to third on a wild pitch by Bauer and scored easily on a double to left by Didi Gregorius, cutting the Indians lead to 2-1.
The Indians would have their chances against Garcia, but could not extend their lead. In the top of the third, Ramirez doubled with two down and Diaz walked as Ramirez picked off third base, but Jay Bruce grounded the next pitch to second to strand a pair. Roberto Perez, who singled with one out in the fourth, moved to second on a groundout but advanced no further on a strikeout by Giovanny Urshela to end the inning. In Garcia’s last full inning of work, Ramirez reached with his third hit in three trips with a two-out infield single and moved into scoring position on another walk by Diaz, but Bruce again grounded into the shift to leave two more on the base paths.
Chad Green was sensational out of the Yankees bullpen to keep the game close after coming on for Garcia with one on and nobody out in the sixth. He worked two and two-thirds scoreless innings, striking out the first five that he faced while also getting a caught stealing of Carlos Santana, his inherited runner from Garcia. Green would give up a leadoff double to Ramirez in the eighth, but struck out two more to give him seven Ks of the eight men that he faced. Tommy Kahnle got Santana to pop out to third to end the eighth.
Bauer cleared six innings for the Tribe before turning the game over to the bullpen. Tyler Olson gave up an infield single to short to Ronald Torreyes and a sacrifice to Brett Gardner before Bryan Shaw came on in relief. He struck out Hicks and got Sanchez to fly to center to end the seventh and returned for the bottom of the eighth, getting a liner and a second strikeout before handing the ball over to Cody Allen. The Tribe closer, on for the four-out save, struck out Greg Bird to close the eighth. In the ninth, Starlin Castro pinch-hit for Todd Frazier and struck out. Jacoby Ellsbury grounded to third and Aaron Judge, pinch-hitting for Torreyes, struck out on a high heater to give Allen his 22nd save of the season.
The win for the Indians (75-56) was their sixth straight and moved the team to a season-best 19 games over the .500 mark. The victory also moved them to a full seven games in front of Minnesota and to 18-9 in August with a +53 run differential (136-83). The Yankees (70-61) dropped to four and a half games in back of Boston in the AL East, with the Red Sox set to play later in the day in a 7:07 PM ET start in Toronto. Their lead in the race for the top AL Wild Card spot shrank to just two games over the second Wild Card team, the Twins.
Bauer gave the Indians what they needed the most in the first game of a doubleheader. He provided six quality innings on the mound, allowing just a run on four hits. He struggled with command at times, walking four, but minimized the damage to just the one third-inning run while striking out four in the contest. He is now 7-1 in ten overall appearances (nine starts) since the All-Star break.
Garcia was better in his second start of the month against the Indians, but again failed for the fifth time as a Yankee to complete six innings on the mound. He worked five-plus on Wednesday, allowing two runs (just one earned) on six hits. He walked three and worked around heavy traffic throughout the afternoon, and struck out five, needing 97 pitches (56 strikes) to clear his appearance.
Ramirez was a perfect 4-for-4 with two singles and two doubles on the afternoon while scoring a run. Lindor scored the other run of the game on the passed ball, while Diaz drove in the second run and reached base three times in four trips (one single, two walks).
Game two of the doubleheader is set to start approximately 30 minutes after the completion of the day’s first game. The Indians will call up left-hander Ryan Merritt (1-0, 1.76 ERA) to make his second start in the last week. He made one of his best regular season starts of his career to date in his last spot start for the club on Friday when he shutout the Kansas City Royals over six and two-thirds innings, giving up seven hits and a walk in earning his first win of the season.
The Yankees will send left-hander Jordan Montgomery (7-6, 4.00) to the mound. Montgomery, who will be recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as the 26th man for the Yankees, made just one start for the RailRiders and just his second minor league outing of the season. It will be his second start against Cleveland this month after allowing one run on three hits (including a solo home run) over five innings with seven strikeouts in a no-decision.
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