What looked like a genuine pitchers’ duel on paper materialized on the field for the first five innings of the Yankees-Indians clash Thursday night. Tribe ace Corey Kluber and newly acquired Yankees starter Sonny Gray each gave up only 2 hits each.
But for Gray, his new teammates’ defense failed him miserably. The Yankees committed 3 errors in the first inning, opening the door for 2 Tribe runs. That was the only cushion Kluber would need en route to a complete game, 5-1 victory for the Indians.
Kluber broke a string of 3 consecutive starts with at least 12 strikeouts. On Thursday night, Klubot missed that average by only one, chalking up 11 Ks and surrendering only 3 hits. One of those hits was a solo home run by DH Gary Sanchez. Other than that, Corey scattered a single and a double as he hurled another gem of a game with 106 total pitches.
Trouble began for the Yankees with the first Tribe batter. Bradley Zimmer hit a routine grounder to first base, but Chase Headley bobbled the ball and the speedy Zimmer made it to the bag safely. Francisco Lindor hit into an out on another grounder, but the fielder’s choice allowed Zimmer to reach second. Michael Brantley hit yet another routine grounder to Tyler Wade at second, and he bobbled the ball to let Brantley reach first and Zimmer advance to third.
Jose Ramirez followed with the only hit of the inning — a solid single to right. Zimmer scored easily from third. Then right fielder Clint Frazier sailed a throw over the entire infield, allowing Brantley to trot home.
Gray breezed through the next 4.2 innings. But with two outs in the sixth, Carlos Santana drew a walk, Brandon Guyer singled and Yan Gomes smashed a double high off the left field wall to score both base runners.
The Tribe’s other run came on a solo homer from Francisco Lindor in the seventh, extending his hitting streak to 13 games.
With Kluber on the mound and 5 runs on the board, the Indians made quick work of the Yankees. The four-game series continues on Friday night.