The Yankees came back quickly from a three-run deficit after one, blasting four home runs on the way to a 5-3 victory over the Indians from downtown Cleveland on Friday night.
Just one night after coughing up a three-run first inning lead, the Indians (8-10) did it again on Friday night, taking a 3-0 lead after one before the Yankees (8-11) responded with two homers in the second to tie the game and two more solo homers in the third and fifth and never looked back. The Cleveland bats were put back on ice by the New York bullpen, after doing some early damage against opposing starter Jordan Montgomery.
Logan Allen had a good first inning, retiring the dangerous Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Gleyber Torres in order after DJ LeMahieu started the game with a single to right. The Cleveland lineup then backed its young starter with some big hits to take an early lead. Cesar Hernandez and Jose Ramirez drew back-to-back one-out walks. Franmil Reyes doubled deep to left to drive in a run. A grounder to short by Eddie Rosario pushed Ramirez across with the second run of the frame and a single to left by Amed Rosario gave Cleveland a 3-0 lead.
The Yankees went to the long ball to get right back into the game in the next half inning. With one out, Aaron Hicks took Allen deep to left for a solo homer to put New York on the board. Gary Sanchez followed with a single to center, but after Clint Frazier was retired on the next pitch on a fly ball to center, Rougned Odor pulled a 1-2 slider over the right field wall to knot the game at three.
Montgomery retired the side in order in the second before the Yankees claimed the lead for good. Allen fell behind the slumping Stanton with two pitches off of the plate. He fouled off a high heater before blasting another heater middle in into the bleachers in left. The 118 MPH rocket off of his bat gave New York a 4-3 lead. After a walk and a lineout, Allen was hooked for Phil Maton, who got a big double play to prevent further damage from being done.
After Maton walked one and struck out three in the top of the fourth, the Yankees added on another run to their tally at the midway point. Rule 5 pick Trevor Stephan, selected by the Indians from the Yankees in December, came on in relief of Maton. He retired LeMahieu on a foul out to first, but Stanton slugged an 0-2 heater the opposite way to right for his second homer of the game and his fifth of the season, extending the New York lead to 5-3.
Montgomery stared down a threat in the bottom of the fifth, trying to protect his 5-3 lead. Jordan Luplow doubled with one out before Montgomery struck out his second batter of the inning. Ramirez reached on an infield single to short to put runners on the corners, bringing Yankees skipper Aaron Boone out of the first base dugout. Lucas Luetge stepped in and struck out Reyes on four pitches, freezing him on a low curveball.
The Cleveland bullpen silenced the New York lineup in the second half of the game. Gio Urshela drew a leadoff walk in the sixth before three outs in the air by Stephan. Cal Quantrill went six-up, six-down in the seventh and eighth, while Emmanuel Clase worked around a two-out walk by Frazier in the ninth.
The Tribe lineup, however, was unable to do any damage against the New York bullpen. Luetge walked A. Rosario with one down in the sixth and left him at first. Darren O’Day pitched a perfect seventh. Chad Green gave up a leadoff single to Ramirez in the eighth before Reyes chopped into a double play. Aroldis Chapman, on for the second night in a row in a save situation, had to throw some pitches, but got the job done, needing 17 pitches to set down the bottom of the Cleveland order.
Allen dropped to 1-3 on the year with another tough showing. He made it through just two and one-third innings, allowing four runs on five hits, including three home runs. He struck out one and walked one while throwing 31 of 54 pitches for strikes. The bullpen behind him worked six and two-thirds innings, allowing just one run on one hit with three walks and six strikeouts.
Montgomery took the no-decision for the Yankees, working four and two-thirds innings while allowing three runs on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts on 89 pitches. His teammates behind him shut the Tribe down, allowing a single and a walk in four and one-thirds innings, striking out a pair. Luetge earned his first win since September 4, 2013, while Chapman nailed down his four save of the year.
Ramirez was perfect at the plate for the Tribe, going 2-for-2 with two singles, two walks, and a run scored. Reyes and Luplow each added doubles. Cleveland was 3-for-6 with runners in scoring position and stranded five. Stanton was 2-for-4 for New York, hitting his fourth and fifth homers of the season. The Yankees did not have an at bat with runners in scoring position while stranding four.
Saturday’s contest between the two clubs will feature a pitching matchup for all baseball fans. Shane Bieber (2-1, 2.45 ERA) and Gerrit Cole (2-1, 1.82 ERA) will face off in a pairing of two of the top pitchers in the game. Bieber will be in pursuit of a victory to stop Cleveland’s skid as well as matching Randy Johnson’s MLB record of 18 straight games with eight strikeouts or more recorded in an outing.
Play resumes between the Yankees and Indians at 6:10 PM ET on Saturday afternoon from Progressive Field.
Photo: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire (via Getty Images)