Indians hang on to top Yankees
CLEVELAND (AP) — Following another strong start from Shane Bieber, Indians closer Cody Allen managed to hit the brakes just in time during yet another tense ninth inning.
Allen overcame Giancarlo Stanton’s leadoff homer in the ninth and retired pinch-hitter Didi Gregorius with the tying run on first to close out Cleveland’s 6-5 win over the New York Yankees on Friday night.
Allen, making his first appearance since allowing a career-high six runs in the ninth inning against Cincinnati on Tuesday, recorded his 19th save in 20 chances. The right-hander tried to use that experience as a positive this time.
“What’s the old saying, experience comes from failure,” Allen said. “You kind of have to go back and try to learn from all those moments and use them going forward.”
Greg Bird singled after Stanton’s homer, but Allen got Miguel Andujar to bounce into a double play. Allen walked Neil Walker, but Gregorius popped up to shortstop Francisco Lindor in shallow left field.
Allen has tried to put his performance against Cincinnati behind him.
“Sometimes it’s a little harder than others, but you really don’t have a choice,” he said. “Obviously the leadoff homer and that base hit there, you start to sometimes maybe allow it to speed up a little bit. You have to do your best to try and reel it in.”
Rookie right-hander Shane Bieber (5-1) pitched into the eighth inning. He was removed after Tyler Wade’s leadoff double and Cleveland leading 6-3. Brett Gardner’s RBI groundout cut the lead to two and set up the ninth.
Jose Ramirez, the starting third baseman for the AL in the All-Star Game, drove in two runs with a groundout in the first and a triple in the fifth. Michael Brantley, also an All-Star, hit a two-run double in the second.
The Indians broke a seven-game losing streak against the Yankees dating to last season’s AL Division Series when New York came back from a 2-0 deficit. The Yankees won the first four games between the teams this season.
Yankees rookie Domingo German (2-5) allowed six runs — matching a season high — in four-plus innings.
Bieber allowed four runs — three earned — in seven-plus innings. The right-hander was making his seventh major league start.
Neil Ramirez replaced Perez in the eighth and hit Aaron Judge with a 1-2 pitch, but struck out Aaron Hicks. Judge ran on the pitch and was called safe at second, but the call was overturned after a review. Stanton homered in the next at-bat leading off the ninth.
“Especially when Stanton comes up the next inning and hits a home run like that, it’s tough,” Judge said. “But those are gambles. You’ve got to take those gambles. We took a risk and I was out.”
Ramirez’s groundout scored a run in the first and Cleveland added three in the second. Yan Gomes doubled in a run before Brantley added a two-run double.
New York got back in the game in the fifth on Walker’s RBI double and Gardner’s sacrifice fly, with a wild pitch scoring another run.
Ramirez’s RBI triple and Yonder Alonso’s run-scoring single in the bottom of the inning pushed the lead to 6-3.
Bieber has a 3.74 ERA in seven starts with Cleveland after beginning the season at Double-A Akron.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone had a simple explanation for German’s struggles.
“Just couldn’t find his fastball there the first couple innings,” Boone said. “To his credit, he kind of righted the ship a little bit and got into a little bit of a rhythm because we were real close to probably having to get him out of there in the second inning.”
ON THE MOVE
Left-hander Ryan Merritt, who hasn’t pitched in the majors this season because of knee and shoulder injuries, was activated from the 60-day disabled list and designated for assignment by the Indians. Merritt started the series-clinching Game 5 of the 2016 ALCS against Toronto when Cleveland went to the World Series.
Yankees: C Gary Sanchez (strained right groin) ran the bases Friday and could begin a minor league rehab assignment Sunday at Triple-A Scranton. He’s been out since June 25.
Indians: LHP Andrew Miller (right knee inflammation) will throw to hitters Saturday at Double-A Akron and will likely begin a rehab assignment next week. He’s been on the disabled list since May 26.
Yankees LHP CC Sabathia (6-4, 3.34 ERA) will make his 527th career start Saturday, tying him with Jerry Koosman and Jack Morris for 36th on the career list. RHP Mike Clevinger (7-4, 3.34) allowed two runs in 7 1/3 innings at Yankee Stadium on May 6 in a no-decision.