CLEVELAND — Sonny Gray pitched well in his highly-anticipated Yankee debut, but was betrayed by his defense.
The Bombers committed three first-inning errors behind Gray, fell behind 2-0 and ultimately lost 5-1 to the Indians on Thursday night at Progressive Field. They have dropped four of their last five games.
Gray was charged with four runs (two earned) on four hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out six, sitting around 93-94 mph and featuring a nasty breaking ball. The 27-year-old righty was acquired by the A’s in blockbuster trade that sent prospects James Kaprielian, Jorge Mateo and Dustin Fowler to Oakland.
Asked about his expectations for Gray, who had posted a 1.37 ERA over his previous six starts, going into the game, Joe Girardi responded: “Just to be Sonny Gray. He’s been a really good pitcher over the last 4-5 years. We’re not asking him to do more than what he’s done in Oakland. Just give us a shot to win like you always do.”
He did. It’s just that Corey Kluber was better. Cleveland’s All-Star righty threw a dominant complete-game. He allowed just one run on three hits, walked one and struck out 11. The man they call “Klubot” has struck out eight or more in his last 12 starts.
Gary Sanchez snapped a 16-inning scoreless streak for the Yankees with a 427-foot solo shot off Kluber with one out in the seventh. It was Sanchez’s 17th homer of the year.
Struggling sluggers Aaron Judge and Matt Holliday got the night off. Both are expected back in the lineup on Friday.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Tyler Wade deftly handled a hot shot from Carlos Santana, making a sliding backhanded grab before spinning and shoveling to Didi Gregorius for the force at second.
The first inning. Chase Headley booted a grounder from Bradley Zimmer to open the frame. With one out, Tyler Wade couldn’t handle a grounder from Michael Brantley. Jose Ramirez followed with an RBI single to right. Clint Frazier airmailed the throw to third, which ended up in the stands, allowing both runs to score.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Corey Kluber, who came in ranked fourth in the majors in WAR among starters behind only Chris Sale, Max Scherzer and Luis Severino.
STAT OF THE GAME
Brett Gardner snapped his career-best 14-game hitting streak Thursday, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
Yan Gomes’ two-run double with two outs in the sixth inning put the Tribe up 4-0.
The Yankees only mustered three hits, so nearly every swinging a bat.
Friday at Cleveland, 7:10 p.m. Jaime Garcia (5-7, 4.29 ERA) vs. Trevor Bauer (9-8, 5.25)
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