The Indians had an opportunity to win their first series since they defeated Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers in the rubber game of their three-game series on July 26th. They also had an opportunity to string together back to back victories for the first time since defeating the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox on August 8 and August 9th. But Ubaldo Jimenez was victimized for three early runs and the offense was unable to deliver a key hit against Yankee starter Freddy Garcia or a trio of Yankee relievers as the Yankees defeated the Indians 4-2.
The Indians have now lost 10 of their last 11, 27 of their last 35, and 30 of their last 40 games, and have a record of 11-31 (.262) in the second half. The loss drops the Indians to 55-72 on the year and they remain in 4th place in the AL Central, 1.5 games behind the Kansas City Royals who lost to the Boston Red Sox 8-6.
Ubaldo Jimenez (9-13, 5.88) took the loss, going five innings allowing three runs (all earned) on eight hits while striking out four and walking one. Tony Sipp worked the sixth inning and gave up a run, Joe Smith worked a scoreless seventh, and Esmil Rogers delivered another two scoreless frames.
Freddy Garcia worked 4.2 innings for the Yankees, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out six and walking two. Boone Logan (5-2, 3.92) earned the victory with 1.2 innings of scoreless work. He was followed to the mound by David Robertson who worked 1.2 innings before giving way to Rafael Soriano for the final four outs in picking up his 33rd save on the year.
The victory improves the Yankees’ record to 74-53 and gives them a four-game lead in the AL East over the Tampa Bay Rays (who had a rare off day due to Tropicana Field being used as part of the Republican National Convention) and 4.5 games over the Baltimore Orioles, whose game against the Toronto Blue Jays was postponed due to rain.
The Yankees jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Eric Chavez singled to lead off the inning, advanced to second on a Raul Ibanez walk, and scored on a single by Ichiro Suzuki. Joe Girardi played small ball and had Chris Stewart lay down a sacrifice bunt to move Ibanez to third and Ichiro to second. The move paid off as Derek Jeter grounded out to third plating Ibanez and Nick Swisher delivered a two-out RBI single to score Ichiro.
The Indians wasted a leadoff double in the third inning and had the bases loaded with two outs but Garcia was able to get Carlos Santana to fly out to right to escape damage. He wasn’t so lucky in the bottom of the fifth as the Tribe cut the lead to 3-2. With two outs in the inning Jason Kipnis doubled and Garcia helped the Indians by hitting Asdrubal Cabrera and walking Shin-Soo Choo to load the bases. Unlike the 3rd inning, this time Santana delivered with a two-run single to end Garica’s afternoon. Joe Girardi called on Boone Logan who came in and retired Michael Brantley to end the inning.
With Ubaldo Jimenez at 100 pitches (59 for strikes) and lefty Curtis Granderson due up, Manny Acta went to Tony Sipp to keep the Yankees in check. Sometimes the best laid plans of mice and men go astray and Curtis Granderson made this old adage stand up by hitting his 33rd home run of the season to extend the Yankees’ lead to 4-2.