“Thank goodness Jose had the two home runs to kind of get us even,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “And then we certainly made the most of our six hits. It was two really good pitchers going at it and, fortunately, Kluber stayed the course and did what he usually does.”
The Indians (74-56) improved to a season-high 18 games over .500 as they pushed their American League Central lead to seven games over the Twins, who had an off-day Monday. New York, which holds the top AL Wild Card spot, slipped to 3 1/2 games back in the AL East as the Red Sox defeated the Blue Jays.
Kluber turned in another impressive performance, permitting just two runs and three hits over eight innings to pick up his 13th victory. The Indians’ ace struck out seven and now has a 1.90 ERA in 17 starts dating back to June 1, allowing two runs or fewer in 13 of those outings.
“Just because you get on a good stretch,” Kluber said, “you don’t take your foot off the gas pedal, so to speak. If anything, you work harder to try to continue to do that. I think that’s how you build momentum and sustain good stretches, by continuing to look for ways to improve.”
Kluber has won each of his last five meetings with the Yankees, improving to 5-1 against them in seven career starts. The top six hitters in New York’s lineup went 0-for-22, but No. 7 hitter Chase Headley hit a third-inning solo homer and No. 9 hitter Todd Frazier knocked a run-scoring single in the fifth inning.
Monday marked just the second time in Severino’s career that he has served up three or more homers, having done so last May 8 against the Red Sox. Severino was charged with four runs (three earned) in 6 2/3 innings, walking three and striking out nine.
“They have a good team,” Severino said. “They’ve got good players. Ramirez is a good hitter, and Santana, too. With this team, you have to be limiting your mistakes.”
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
‘Los gets loose: Other than a pair of fat fastballs to Ramirez, Severino seemed to be in control of the Indians’ lineup, holding Cleveland 0-for-14 between the second baseman’s dingers. That changed in the seventh as Severino left a 1-1 changeup up to Santana, who crushed the 84.3-mph offering at an exit velocity of 107.8 mph, according to Statcast???.
“It’s strange when [Severino’s] stuff was that good tonight that he gave up the three homers, but he made some mistakes,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Speed thrills: Cleveland padded Kluber’s effort with a key insurance run in the seventh inning, taking advantage of the Yanks’ defense. Bradley Zimmer stole second base and advanced when second baseman Starlin Castro couldn’t handle catcher Gary Sanchez‘s throw, then scored standing up as a Warren wild pitch skipped past Sanchez.
“I would rather somebody beat me than just kind of give away a run,” Warren said. “At least giving up a home run, you made a bad pitch and they made you pay for it, whereas that run just kind of scored without a hit or even a ball put in play.”
“It’s starting to get a little bit [boring], because you’re getting no action out there. It’s like you’re standing and watching him throw sliders and guys swinging over them. I’ve said this, I feel like, every time he pitches: The guy is unbelievable. I’m just happy he’s on our side.” — Zimmer, on playing center field behind Kluber
“It’s much more fun to watch him hit from the dugout than to have to try to get him out.” — Kluber, on Ramirez
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Both of the home runs by Ramirez came on fastballs from Severino in excess of 98 mph, per Statcast?????????. That made Ramirez the first MLB hitter to have a pair of homers on 98-plus-mph pitches in a single game since pitch tracking began in 2008.
Headley’s home run ended a run of 30 consecutive scoreless innings for Cleveland’s pitching staff. That marked the longest such streak in the Majors this season and the longest run for the Indians since a 31-inning streak from May 9-12, 2008.
Indians: Right-hander Trevor Bauer (13-8, 4.59 ERA) is scheduled to take the ball for the Tribe in Tuesday’s 7:05 p.m. ET clash with the Yankees in the Bronx. Bauer has a 2.45 ERA in August and has gone 6-0 with a 2.54 ERA in his past eight games.
Yankees: Left-hander Jaime Garcia (5-8, 4.52 ERA) will try again for his first victory as a member of the Yankees in Tuesday’s 7:05 p.m. ET contest against Cleveland. Garcia is 0-1 with a 5.95 ERA in four starts since being acquired by New York on July 29.
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This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.