A steady stream of defensive misplays cost the Tribe in the series opener against the Yankees on Friday night, as they lost 10-6. Trevor Bauer pitched poorly, lasting just 3 1/3 innings and giving up five earned runs on six hits and four walks, with only three strikeouts. Former Indians reliever Esmil Rogers started for New York and went five innings, while allowing just one run on four hits and a walk, and striking out three batters.
Bottom of the 1st, tied 0-0
A double by Jason Kipnis and and RBI single by Carlos Santana gave the Tribe an early one-run advantage, but Bauer wasn’t able to hold the lead for even an inning. He gave up a single to Derek Jeter, walked Jacoby Ellsbury and then allowed an RBI single to Carlos Beltran. Bauer walked Brian McCann to load the bases, then walked Chase Headley to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. A pair of singles from Stephen Drew and Martin Prado added three more runs before Bauer could escape the inning.
Bottom of the 6th, Indians trail 5-2
David Murphy‘s RBI single in the top of the sixth put the Indians back in the game, but John Axford quickly put it back out of reach. After walking Ichiro Suzuki and Brett Gardner, Axford intentionally walked Ellsbury to load the bases with one out for Beltran. Beltran didn’t take long to make the Indians regret that decision. He crushed a ball to deep right-center field for a grand slam. Later in the inning, a throwing error by Jose Ramirez let Francisco Cervelli score, making it 10-2 in favor of the Yankees.
Top of the 7th, Indians trail 10-2
Shawn Kelly stayed on to pitch after the Yankees’ big inning, and he struggled to shut down the Tribe’s lineup. Roberto Perez singled to lead off the inning, before Kelly walked Jason Kipnis and allowed another single to Mike Aviles. With the bases loaded, Michael Brantley walked. After a pitching change, Santana doubled to score two more runs, and David Murphy added another on a sacrifice fly. At 10-6, the Indians were still in the game, but they wouldn’t score again.
The offense kept the team in the game, taking advantage of the Yankees’ mistakes. They used a nice combination of patience and agressiveness, using both walks and hits to score their runs. Kipnis, Murphy and Perez each went 2-for-4, while Santana went 3-for-4. Excluding John Axford, the bullpen did a good job in their 5 2/3 innings of work. The only run the rest of the relievers allowed came off of Mark Rzepczynski on a play that involved an error.
The Indians’ defense has been terrible all year, but rarely has it looked as comical as it did on Friday night. Between throwing the ball away and failing to field it cleanly, the Tribe gave the game away. In the first inning, Kipnis had perhaps the most unnecessary error of all, when he attempted to scoop the ball up with his glove and shovel it to Ramirez at second base for the out. Instead, he tossed it far above the shortstop’s reach, and it bounced harmlessly on the infield grass as all of the Yankees reached based safely. This was the second mistake in the inning, and it set the tone for the game.