Yankees score twice in 8th off Kluber, top Indians 7-4


Indians manager Terry Francona trusted Corey Kluber to keep the Yankees from scoring.

At this point, he has no better option.

Kluber gave up a go-ahead double to Aaron Hicks with one out in the eighth inning as New York scored late against Cleveland's ace and downed the Indians 7-4 on Thursday night in the Yankees' first visit to Progressive Field since last year's AL playoffs.

After fouling a pitch off his foot, Hicks drove a 3-2 delivery from Kluber (12-5) to deep center field, scoring Didi Gregorius easily from first base when the ball one-hopped the wall.

Although Kluber was at 100 pitches through seven innings, Francona elected to stick with him in the eighth rather than turn things over to his shaky bullpen, which has the league's highest ERA and is missing Andrew Miller.

"I thought he was fine," Francona said of Kluber. "And he was at what, 100? And I thought he was throwing the ball well. I thought he was in command of what he was doing."

The Yankees added another run in the inning on Greg Bird's sacrifice fly off Oliver Perez.

Brett Gardner homered twice and Gregorius also connected for the Yankees, who overcame a 2-0 deficit and won the Division Series by beating Kluber in Game 5 last October.

New York is 30 games over .500 for the first time this season, and for the first time before the All-Star break since 1998, when it won the World Series.

Yankees All-Star ace Luis Severino only pitched five innings, but manager Aaron Boone got four hitless innings from Adam Warren, David Robertson (6-3), Dellin Betances and closer Aroldis Chapman, who got three outs for his 25th save — in his first appearance since Saturday because of a sore left knee.

"Every win's a good win," Boone said. "That was a good win up against a great pitcher. Up and down the lineup we had big at-bats in big spots. On a night when Sevy didn't have his best, the rest of the guys were able to come through in a big way."

Jose Ramirez and Edwin Encarnacion homered off Severino, who was denied his major league-leading 15th win.

The marquee matchup between Kluber and Severino — two of baseball's top pitchers — had everyone excited.

"This is one of those games where if I wasn't a manager, I'd come watch the game," Francona quipped beforehand.

But neither Kluber nor Severino brought their 'A' game. The All-Stars each gave up two homers, both were hit harder than expected and they were forced to pitch out of trouble throughout their stints.

Severino allowed four runs and nine hits in five innings and recorded just one strikeout, his fewest since 2016.

"We did a great job against Severino. He's got exceptional stuff," Francona said. "We scored. We made him throw pitches. We got him out after five, but their bullpen is also exceptional. They brought in four guys that are pretty good and they kind of did a number on us."

Kluber, who lost the decisive Game 5 to the Yankees last October while battling a stiff lower back, was at 100 pitches to start the eighth, but Francona stuck with him anyway. The right-hander walked Gregorius on four pitches to start the inning and then gave up the double to Hicks, who was just 3 for 25 in his career against the two-time Cy Young Award winner.

"I was looking for a heater," Hicks said. "I was looking for something middle-in I could drive. I got a lot of changeups. I was swinging and missing at it a lot. The pitch before that I got a heater that I just missed. I think that's what got me a changeup in that situation. I just wanted to stay on the ball."

WHAT A RELIEF

Since June 1, New York's relievers have a 1.64 ERA — the lowest in the majors and a full run better than second-place Houston (2.70).

RAM TOUGH

Ramirez connected for his fourth homer in three games to tie it 4-all in the fifth. The 25-year-old has 28 homers, breaking Albert Belle's club record for the most before the All-Star break. Ramirez is also tied with Boston's J.D. Martinez for the major league lead.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Yankees: C Gary Sanchez (strained right groin) could begin a minor league rehab assignment Sunday. Sanchez, who has been out since June 25, has been doing hitting, catching and agility drills.

Indians: Miller will pitch batting practice to hitters Saturday at Double-A Akron, the next step in his comeback from knee inflammation that has sidelined the elite reliever since May 26. Miller said he expects to pitch in a "handful of minor league games" before he's activated.

UP NEXT

A pair of rookies square off as Cleveland's Shane Bieber (4-1) gets his first career start against the Yankees — or any AL East team — on Friday versus New York's Domingo German (2-4), who had a season-high 10 strikeouts on June 14 against Tampa Bay.

___

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Texas Tech’s Dakota Allen is making the most of his second chance with the Red Raiders
Texas Tech’s Dakota Allen is making the most of his second chance with the Red Raiders

FRISCO — Dakota Allen’s tale is one that could’ve had a stereotypical ending. Instead, it may have been the best individual storyline Monday at Big 12 media days. The Texas Tech linebacker had 87 tackles as a redshirt freshman in 2015. All signs were pointed up. But he was arrested with two teammates the following...
Bohls: For Oklahoma, there’s a new quarterback and a newish offense — but no problem
Bohls: For Oklahoma, there’s a new quarterback and a newish offense — but no problem

FRISCO — Once again Oklahoma is the runaway favorite to win the Big 12 football race. Emphasis on the run. No one has a better running back tandem than the Sooners. The probable starting quarterback runs much better than he throws. And the Sooners’ head coach doesn’t mind that his team is making a run for a fourth straight league...
Big 12 media days Q&A: Kansas’ Khalil Herbert — on football, Stoneman Douglas and his extra toe
Big 12 media days Q&A: Kansas’ Khalil Herbert — on football, Stoneman Douglas and his extra toe

FRISCO — Kansas junior Khalil Herbert accounted for 53.9 percent of the Jayhawks’ 1,231 rushing yards in 2017. In a 56-34 loss to West Virginia, he picked up 291 of those 663 yards. It was the third-best rushing performance in school history. A Florida native, Herbert attended Parkland’s Stoneman Douglas High for three...
Our 10th annual Top 25 countdown: No. 13 Notre Dame just keeps on winning, churning out draft picks
Our 10th annual Top 25 countdown: No. 13 Notre Dame just keeps on winning, churning out draft picks

Sure, it’s July. But it’s never too early to talk college football. Here’s your daily fix — our annual countdown of the preseason Top 25, as selected by the American-Statesman sports staff. Last year’s eventual CFP semifinalists were ranked Nos. 1, 5, 8 and 14 on our 2017 list. Our Top 25 &mdash...
The forgotten figure behind Daytona Speedway
The forgotten figure behind Daytona Speedway

By 1949, Bill France Sr. could tell that the famous stock-car races on the hard-packed sands of Daytona Beach, Florida, would soon be impractical. He had moved down from Washington 14 years earlier and founded NASCAR in 1948. He knew the development of hotels on lucrative oceanside property north of Daytona Beach would eventually encroach on the race...
More Stories