Brantley’s homer lifts Indians to 5-2 win over Yankees
CLEVELAND (AP) — Michael Brantley homered leading off the eighth inning, and the Cleveland Indians headed into the All-Star break with a 5-2 win over the New York Yankees on Sunday to split their four-game series.
One of six Cleveland players who will be in Washington for Tuesday’s All-Star Game, Brantley broke a 2-2 tie by belting a pitch from Chad Green (5-2) into the seats in right for his 12th homer. The Indians added two more runs in the inning on a sacrifice fly by Yan Gomes and Green’s wild pitch.
Carlos Carrasco (11-5) earned his first win in relief since July 19, 2014. The right-hander was available after pitching only five innings in Wednesday night’s 19-4 blowout of Cincinnati.
Cody Allen struck out two in the ninth and got his 20th save in 21 opportunities, but Cleveland’s win ended with the Indians worrying about Edwin Encarnacion.
Cleveland’s cleanup hitter homered in the fourth inning, but had to leave in the eighth after being hit on the right hand by a pitch. The Indians did not have immediate word on Encarnacion’s condition.
Neil Walker homered for the Yankees, who enter the break 29 games over .500 and have the majors’ second-best record. However, the Yankees are trailing the scorching Boston Red Sox in the AL East.
Aaron Judge struck out three times against All-Star Trevor Bauer, and Giancarlo Stanton fanned twice for New York.
Bauer held the Yankees in check for seven innings, limiting the Bronx Bombers to two runs and seven hits. The right-hander will not pitch on Tuesday at Nationals Park unless the game goes to extra innings and Houston manager A.J. Hinch runs out of arms.
New York’s Masahiro Tanaka was just as good, allowing two runs and six hits in his second start since coming off the disabled list. He’s unbeaten in his last 11 starts stretching back to April 17.
The Indians are familiar with Tanaka, who pitched seven shutout innings and beat them in Game 3 of last year’s Division Series.
The right-hander’s tantalizing split-finger fastball, which appears to be a fastball before dropping before it reaches the plate — can make the most disciplined hitter look foolish.
“It’s a tough pitch, man, because you don’t really see spin,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “At least with a breaking ball you can see spin. It can make your hair fall out right in the batter’s box.”
Tanaka coasted through three innings before Encarnacion tied it 2-2 in the fourth with home run No. 22, a shot onto the pedestrian plaza in left.
Brantley walked leading off, and after Tanaka struck out Jose Ramirez looking, Encarnacion jumped on his first pitch.
Walker gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead by connecting for his third homer in the fourth, a shot to right that ended an impressive run by Bauer.
According to the Indians, Bauer made seven consecutive “quality” starts with eight or more strikeouts in each while allowing no homers, baseball’s second-longest such streak since 1920. Pedro Martinez had a run of eight straight.
Yankees: C Gary Sanchez homered for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and played seven innings in the first game of his rehab stint. Sanchez, who has been out since June 25 with a strained right groin, is expected to be activated for the first game following the break.
Indians: LHP Andrew Miller is pitching at Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday. The former All-Star has been out with inflammation in his right knee, but he’s progressed to the point where he can pitch in games. He’s expected to pitch for both the Clippers and Double-A Akron in the next week. Francona was encouraged by Miller’s recent workout on the mound at Progressive Field. “That back leg was back up in the air again,” Francona said. “It was really exciting to watch that.”
Yankees: Open a three-game series at home with the Mets on Friday.
Indians: Start the season’s second half Friday at Texas.