The Indians didn’t have much margin for error in tonight’s game against the Yankees, or in last night’s 16-inning 5-4 win. Even though they had to scrounge for runs tonight, it’s not like they didn’t have ample opportunities to break the game open against an often shaky CC Sabathia. In five different innings, the Tribe managed to get their leadoff man aboard; two different times they had the bases loaded with just one out. In both of the bases loaded opportunities, Chris Johnson grounded into an inning-ending double play. They stranded 9 runners on base, and were just 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position (sound familiar?) However, despite these missed opportunities, excellent outings from Danny Salazar and Cody Allen meant that two runs were enough to beat the Yankees.
Brian McCann hit a solo home run in the second inning to put the Yankees out to a 1-0 lead. The Yankees are third in home runs this season, so it’s not a surprise that someone took Salazar deep. The fact that the bases were empty meant that it stung a bit less than it could have. It’s not like the Yankees didn’t have opportunities as well – in the top of the 7th they had runners on second and third with just one out. Salazar got Didi Gregorius to pop out, and Chris Young to strikeout to end the inning, and the threat. This could’ve been much worse though; Mark Teixeira singled to lead off the inning, and later advanced to third after a Carlos Beltran double. A better runner would’ve scored on the double, likely with ease. Thanks to the slow-footed Teixeira, it kept the Yankees off the board and gave Salazar a chance to escape trouble. Salazar once again got into trouble in the top of the 8th inning, after two one-out walks to Brett Gardner and Chase Headley brought Alex Rodriguez to the plate. Terry Francona went with Allen out of the bullpen, and he managed to get A-Rod to ground into a double play to end the inning.
The Indians scored their runs in the 5th and 6th innings, when Francisco Lindor and Abraham Almonte both singled home runs. In fact, every Indian had at least one hit, except for Giovanny Urshela. Jose Ramirez and Carlos Santana both had good nights, as Ramirez went 2 for 3 and Santana went 2 for 4. All 10 of the Indians’ hits were singles though; Sabathia may have been on the ropes at times, but he managed to minimize the damage.
The Tribe has already won the series, and will go for the sweep tomorrow as Nathan Eovaldi squares off against Trevor Bauer. The past 10 years or so, the Indians haven’t exactly had success against the Yankees during the regular season. It made me say, “Winning a series against the Yankees? That’s unpossible!”