CLEVELAND - Before the game's first pitch, the Yankees found out they had lost their ace for an undetermined amount of time, their leftfielder for a game or two because of a strange abdominal injury and their designated hitter for probably longer than that after hitting a ball off his face during batting practice.
On a can't-get-any-worse kind of day, first the newest Yankee, Brandon McCarthy, provided a bit of positive news and then much later in the night Jacoby Ellsbury did as well. Ellsbury hit a two-out homer in the 14th inning to lead the Yankees to a 5-4 victory over the Indians Wednesday night at Progressive Field.
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The teams traded zeros in the extra innings, each blowing scoring opportunities in the 10th inning as the game slogged on.
"That's what it felt like, like it was going to take a home run to get a run across," Ellsbury said. "Our bullpen was unbelievable."
In the 14th, Indians righthander Vinnie Pestano retired the first two batters and got ahead of Ellsbury 0-and-2. But Ellsbury, 2-for-6 to that point, pounded a slider over the wall in right for his sixth homer and a 5-4 lead.
"Huge hit by Jake," Joe Girardi said. "It's a tough game to lose for either side. It came down to one big hit."
David Robertson allowed a one-out single to Jason Kipnis in the 14th and the Indians' leadoff man stole second. But Robertson struck out Asdrubal Cabrera and got Michael Brantley to line out to Zoilo Almonte, called up earlier in the day, to earn his 22nd save in 24 chances.
Mark Teixeira hit two home runs, helping the Yankees, who were without Brett Gardner (abdomen) and Carlos Beltran (batting practice mishap), rally after the Indians scored three runs in the first.
Beltran, who suffered two broken bones in his nose, may have to go to the disabled list but he couldn't say for sure. The bigger concern is a concussion.
"My head feels good," he said after the game. "I had a headache. Now it's better. I could be back soon. With the concussion things, teams take that seriously. Honestly, I don't feel I have that but, at the end of the day, it's not my decision. They want to make sure I wake up tomorrow with less [concussion] symptoms than today."
The Indians nearly won it in the 10th, but Shawn Kelley, who came on with the bases loaded and one out after David Huff walked three straight, struck out Nick Swisher and got David Murphy to ground out.
"I was just trying to make a big pitch," Kelley said.
In the 10th, the Yankees squandered a second chance given to them by an overturned call on a double play, but with runners at the corners and two outs, Ichiro Suzuki struck out.
McCarthy had an inauspicious start to his career in pinstripes. Kipnis led off the first with a single and, after Cabrera flew out, Brantley singled to left. Carlos Santana then hit a ground smash to Teixeira, who threw to second to try to get the lead runner. His throw hit a sliding Brantley for an error, loading the bases. Lonnie Chisenhall's groundout brought in Kipnis. Swisher then delivered a two-out, two-run single. But the Yankees came back, with Teixeira's first homer in the fourth making it 3-1 and his two-run shot in the fifth making it 4-3. The Indians tied it in the bottom of the fifth.
"Results-wise it was all right," said McCarthy, who allowed four runs -- one earned -- and nine hits in 62/3 innings. "But I didn't feel sharp early on, I struggled with some things. Felt like I did a decent job of getting it back."
But the night's big news, of course, revolved around Tanaka being sent back to New York earlier in the day for an MRI and eventually placed on the DL with inflammation in his elbow.