After the high of taking three of four from the Tigers, with the emotion of Paul O'Neill Day and Derek Jeter's chase of Honus Wagner to spur them on, the Yankees seemed to be looking at a productive weekend against the Indians.
Funny thing about baseball, though: You have to actually play the games. After scoring 10 runs in Friday night's victory, the Yankees were shut out Saturday and barely avoided getting blanked in a 4-1 loss Sunday.
Jacoby Ellsbury's two-out homer in the bottom of the ninth gave the Yankees their only run. They had five hits, same as in Saturday's 3-0 loss to Corey Kluber and three relievers.
Sunday's defeat at the hands of Carlos Carrasco and four relievers was unexpected if only because of the identity of the Cleveland starter.
Carrasco (4-4) hadn't started since April and was 0-12 in his previous 17 starts. But the 27-year-old righthander held the Yankees to two singles in five innings with no walks and four strikeouts. It was his first win as a starter since June 29, 2011.
"It's not what you wanted," Joe Girardi said. "You wanted to finish up the homestand better than we did. We ended up 4-3 . . . We were hoping for better."
The Yankees did avoid being shut out in back-to-back games. That hadn't happened since 1999 -- a year in which they won the World Series with players including O'Neill, who received a plaque in Monument Park on Saturday, and Jeter, who passed Wagner for sixth place on the all-time hits list on the same day.
O'Neill was in the broadcast booth Sunday, Jeter was at shortstop and 46,152 were in the stands on Yankees cowboy hat day. But the Yankees had little giddyup at the plate.
"You've got to give those guys credit," said Mark Teixeira, who went 1-for-4 after missing three games with a sliced-up left pinkie. "We faced some really good pitchers the last two days, but they just got the best of us."
The Yankees hadn't scored in a season-worst 19 consecutive innings when Ellsbury went deep off Cody Allen. Their offense has been inconsistent at best this season. Said Teixeira, "We haven't been great all year."
The Yankees remained six games behind the AL East-leading Orioles and fell 21/2 games behind the Royals in the race for the second AL wild card. They also are a game behind the Blue Jays and Mariners.
The Yankees begin a six-game road trip to Baltimore and Tampa Bay on Monday night. "The important thing is that we continue to take series," Girardi said. "And you need to do that if you want to play in October."
Hiroki Kuroda (7-8) allowed three runs in 42/3 innings. The Indians scored single runs in the first, third, fifth and seventh. Michael Brantley had an RBI single in the first and a sacrifice fly in the third. Yan Gomes had Cleveland's other two RBIs, the first on a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the fifth. Gomes also had an RBI single off Shawn Kelley with two outs in the seventh.
Kuroda allowed five hits and walked four with one hit batter and a wild pitch. He struck out three.
Aside from Teixeira's single and Ellsbury's 10th homer, the Yankees had Ellsbury's first-inning single, Stephen Drew's second-inning single and Ichiro Suzuki's two-out double in the eighth. It's never a good sign when you can list all of a team's hits without breaking a sweat.
"We scored 10 runs the first day, so you're thinking we're looking good going into the series," hitting coach Kevin Long said. "Kluber threw a hell of a game and Carrasco was up to the task. So you move forward."