CLEVELAND (AP) — Austin Romine came all the way around to score when Cleveland committed two errors on his routine double in the seventh inning, and the New York Yankees edged the Cleveland Indians 5-4 on Saturday night.
Didi Gregorius hit a three-run homer and Greg Bird added a solo shot for the Yankees, who moved 30 games over. 500 and kept pace with the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox.
Indians All-Star Jose Ramirez belted his 29th homer, giving the third baseman as many homers as he had all last season — and tying Mickey Mantle’s record for the most by a switch-hitter before the break.
David Robertson (7-3) struck out three, Dellin Bentances worked the eighth and Aroldis Chapman got his 26th save in 27 tries.
After the Indians tied it in the sixth when Ramirez scored from second on an infield single, the Yankees took a 5-4 lead in the seventh off Mike Clevinger (7-5) on a play that brought Little League flashbacks back to everyone in the ballpark.
Romine led off with a shot to the base of the wall in right-center. But as he neared second, Indians right fielder Brandon Guyer bobbled the ball and Romine headed to third. But as he slid into the bag, second baseman Erik Gonzalez’s relay throw from the outfield skipped past Ramirez at third and headed toward Cleveland’s dugout.
Clevinger did his best to corral the wayward throw on the track, but it had too much backspin, hopped out of play and Romine was awarded home.
Ramirez’s hustle allowed the Indians to tie it 4-all in the sixth and chase Sabathia, who was making his 527th career start.
The left-hander was an out away from escaping a second-and-third situation when Guyer hit a chopper to third that Miguel Andjuar fielded on an awkward hop. As Michael Brantley raced home, Yankees first baseman Bird came off the bag to grab his throw. Meanwhile, Ramirez never slowed when he rounded and scored ahead of Bird’s throw with a head-first slide.
Sabathia is tied with Jerry Koosman and Jack Morris for 36th place on the career starts list.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone missed all the action. He was ejected in the sixth inning following another strange play.
Giancarlo Stanton swung and missed at 0-2 pitch that appeared to glance off the slugger’s hand. Boone argued that it should have been a foul ball, and was tossed after an animated argument. By rule, a strike is called even when the ball hits a batter while swinging.
With homer No. 29, Ramirez kept up his torrid pace. Mantle also hit 29 homers before the break in 1956 and 1961, and Lance Berkman matched him in 2002.
Yankees: C Gary Sanchez (right groin strain), who has been sidelined since June 25, begins a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday. Barring a setback, Boone plans to have him catch New York’s first game after the All-Star break on July 20 against the Mets.
Indians: LHP Andrew Miller pitched live batting practice at Double-A Akron as he moves closer to a return. The elite, late-inning reliever has been sidelined since late May with inflammation in his right knee. Miller will likely pitch in some minor league games during the All-Star break.
Cleveland catcher Yan Gomes has been named to the American League All-Star team as an injury replacement for Tampa Bay’s Wilson Ramos. This is Gomes’ first All-Star trip.
Indians All-Star RHP Trevor Bauer (8-6, 2.23 ERA) takes on RHP Masahiro Tanaka (7-2, 4.68 ERA) in the series finale. Bauer has made seven straight quality starts with at least eight strikeouts and no home runs allowed, one shy of Pedro Martinez’s record set in 2002. Bauer will only pitch in Tuesday’s All-Star game if it goes to extra innings.