The misery index continued to rise on the shores of Lake Erie on Friday night. The Yankees checked into Cleveland after losing 3 in a row to the Chicago White Sox and the Indians returned home losers of 8 in a row. The Yankees ended their losing streak by handing the Indians their 9th loss in a row by a final score of 3-1.
C.C. Sabathia (13-3, 3.47 ERA) was making his first start since returning from the disabled list (sore elbow) held the Indians to 1 run on 4 hits while striking out 9 and walking 1 over 7.1 innings of work. David Robertson retired 2 batters in the 8th before giving way to Rafael Soriano who worked the ninth to pick up his 32 save on the year. The victory improves the Yankees record to 73-52 and increased their lead over the Tampa Bay Rays who lost to the Oakland A’s by a final score of 5-4 to 3.5 games game lead in the AL East.
Corey Kluber started for the Indians and seemed to be heading for an early exit as Manny Acta had Chris Seddon warming up 4 batters into the game. Luckily he settled in after a rough beginning and delivered 5 innings allowing 1R/ER on 6 hits while striking out 6 and walking 2. The loss went to Cody Allen (0-1, 1.23 ERA) who allowed his first earned runs of his major league career in the 7th inning. The loss drops the Indians record to 54-71 and they remain in 4th place in the AL Central 3 games ahead of the Minnesota Twins who lost to the Texas Rangers 7-0.
The Yankees struck first in the top of the first inning on back to back doubles by Derek Jetere and Nick Swisher. Corey Kluber issued a walk to Robinson Cano before retiring Mark Teixeira on a line out to right to record the first out of the game. Manny Acta was not going to allow the game to get out of hand and had Chris Seddon warming up in the pen even before Curtis Granderson singled to right to load the bases. Kluber was able to escape further damage by striking out Eric Chavez and retiring Russel Martin on a fly out.
The Yankees pressured Kluber again in the second and the inning featured a moment that may lead to further fireworks as the series moves forward. With one out in the inning Ichiro Suzuki singled and Derek Jeter was struck in the head with a pitch and was visibly upset as he walked to first. Nick Swisher walked to load the base but Robinson Cano grounded into an inning ending double play.
The Indians came back to tie the game in the fourth inning. Asdrubal Cabrera was ahead in the count 1-0 when Sabathia threw a fastball behind him in obvious retaliation for the Jeter hit by pitch in the second. Both benches were warned and Cabrera lined the next pitch to straight away center for his 14th home run of the year.
The game remained tied until the 7th inning when Nick Swisher hit a 2-run homer off Cody Allen who was making not so lucky career appearance number 13 and had not surrendered an earned run any of his first 12 covering 13.2 innings of work.
The Indians continued to fight against Yankees closer Rafael Soriano in the ninth and got back to back singles from Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley to put runners at first and third with nobody out. Things got a little tighter for Soriano as he uncorked a wild pitch which advanced the tying run into scoring position. Matt LaPorta had an opportunity to be the hero but struck out. Ezequiel Carrera was called on to pinch hit for Brent Lillibridge but was retired on an infield pop up. Casey Kotchman checked in to hit for Shelley Duncan and got ahead in the count 3-0 before being intentionally walked. Finally, Jack Hannahan pinch hit for Jason Donald and grounded out to Mark Teixeira to end the game.
The Good: Esmil Rogers continues to be a bright spot since his acquisition from the Colorado Rockies by working a scoreless 8th inning striking out 2. He now has worked 35.1 innings with the Tribe and only allowed 10 ER while striking out 37 and walking only 8.
The Bad: The Indians had runners at 1st and 3rd with 1-out in the bottom of the 6th but neither Michael Brantley or Shelley Duncan were able to drive the run in as they both struck out.
- Corey Kluber had no control in the first inning as evidenced by needing 30 pitches to get through the inning. Hitting Derek Jeter was a function of this lack of control with no intent behind it. Sabathia throwing at Asdrubal Cabrera (certainly not to protect his guy) and risking further retaliation by the Indians is pointless.
- Pinch hitting Casey Kotchman for Shelly Duncan? With what was available on the bench and how the inning had set up the better play would have been to use Kotchman for Laporta and try to get the ground out to the left side of the infield to plate a run and get a runner over to 3rd. This would have put the tying run at 3rd base with 1-out and put pressure on the Yankee defense.