CLEVELAND (AP) — Oswaldo Cabrera hit a tiebreaking, two-out double in the ninth inning off Cleveland closer Emmanuel Clase and the New York Yankees survived a nerve-racking finish for a 4-3 win over the Guardians on Wednesday.
Cabrera’s shot to right off Clase (1-1) scored Giancarlo Stanton, who reached on an infield single with one out and went to second on shortstop Amed Rosario’s throwing error.
Yankees closer Clay Holmes loaded the bases in the ninth on a hit batter and two walks before striking out Rosario for the final out and his fourth save. Wandy Peralta (1-0) pithed a hitless eighth for the win.
New York has won its first four series for the third time in 20 years, taking two of three in each.
The series finale included Yankees manager Aaron Boone being ejected in the first inning following a confusing and controversial play, and second base umpire Larry Vanover getting struck in the face by a relay throw in the fifth.
Franchy Cordero homered again for the Yankees, his fourth of the season tying the score 3-3 in the seventh. Cordero was signed by New York at the end of March after Baltimore released him.
New York’s Aaron Judge went 0 for 3 but drew a walk to extend his on-base streak to 44 games, the longest in the majors since Paul Goldschmidt’s 46 games for St. Louis last season.
Cleveland rookie Peyton Battenfield made his major league debut, starting against baseball’s most storied team after being recalled from Triple-A Columbus when Aaron Civale went on the injured list.
His day got off to a rough start when rookie Anthony Volpe doubled off the wall on the right-hander’s second pitch. But Battenfield struck out Judge, retired Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton on grounders, coasting into the fifth inning with a 3-0 lead.
New York touched him for two runs in the fifth, when Vanover’s scary injury sent a chill through Progressive Field.
With two on, Kyle Higahioka hit a double off the wall. Center fielder Myles Straw quickly got the ball to All-Star second baseman Andrés Giménez, who spun and fired a throw toward the plate that struck Vanover, between second and the mound, on the left side of the head.
The impact knocked Vanover off his feet, sending his hat flying and sprawling him across the infield grass. Giménez was visibly shaken as Vanover was checked by a trainer before slowing walking off the field.
There was no immediate word on the 67-year-old Vanover’s condition.
Earlier, Vanover was involved in the heated discussion with Boone, who was tossed for the first time this season and 27th of his career.
Cleveland had runners at second and third with one out in the first when Josh Naylor hit a looper to center field that Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks appeared to catch with a sliding grab. Hicks threw to second for a force-out and an apparent inning-ending double play.
However, as both teams were in their respective dugouts, a replay was shown on the giant left-field scoreboard of Hicks failing to make the catch. It wasn’t immediately clear if Guardians manager Terry Francona had requested a challenge in the allotted 15 seconds.
Vanover huddled with the other three umpires for several minutes and first spoke to Francona, who appeared satisfied with what he was told.
That brought out Boone, who was upset because he felt the Guardians had taken too long to request the challenge. After some gesturing and finger pointing, Boone was tossed but returned to the field at least three more times for an explanation.
Following the review, and a nearly 10-minute interruption, the umpires ruled that Naylor’s ball dropped in for a base hit and an RBI. The Guardians further capitalized on the overturn when first baseman Josh Bell hit an RBI single to give Cleveland a 2-0 lead.
The Yankees didn’t expect to be in chase mode this early in the season.
But Tampa Bay’s extraordinary start — the Rays were 11-0 entering Wednesday — has New York playing from behind.
“Wow, what a start,” Boone said of Tampa Bay’s season-opening sprint, just the seventh double-digit win streak to begin a season.
“I’m not surprised,” Boone continued. “I thought heading into this year that they were really good from a pitching and where their roster is at position-player wise. I don’t think you ever expect anyone to start 11-0, but we also know they’re an excellent team.”
Yankees: INFs DJ LeMahieu (quad) and Gleyer Torres (hip flexor) were both rested as they deal with injuries the team wants to ensure don’t become more serious.
Yankees: Open a 10-game homestand with rookie RHP Jhony Brito (2-0, 0.90) starting the series opener against Twins RHP Joe Ryan (2-0, 3.75).
Guardians: Following a travel day, Cleveland opens a three-game series vs. the Nationals with Cal Quantrill (0-1, 6.52) starting Friday’s series opener against Trevor Williams (1-1, 4.35).