CLEVELAND — On Thursday night, the Yankees’ offense overcame a subpar outing by Luis Severino, doing so against Cleveland ace Corey Kluber.
Friday night brought another subpar outing, this time by Domingo German. This time the offense couldn’t bail him out.
Indians rookie righthander Shane Bieber mostly controlled the Yankees for seven innings as the Indians earned a 6-5 win.
Afterward Aaron Boone was kicking himself, albeit lightly, over a decision in the late innings that backfired.
With the Yankees trailing 6-3, Tyler Wade led off the eighth against Bieber with an opposite-field double down the leftfield line. In came Oliver Perez to face Brett Gardner, and a passed ball put Wade on third. Gardner’s groundout to short made it 6-4.
Terry Francona called on Neil Ramirez, who hit Aaron Judge with a pitch on his right forearm. But with Giancarlo Stanton on deck, Aaron Hicks struck out and Judge was thrown out stealing second by Yan Gomes — with Francisco Lindor applying a quick tag — as the original safe call was overturned.
“I second-guess it a little bit,” Boone said of sending Judge. “But I’m also betting on if Ramirez came into the zone that we’d put the ball in play. Anything out of the zone, coupled with him [Ramirez] being slow to the plate, I figured we’d have the bag and have another guy in scoring position there. Obviously it didn’t work out.”
Stanton made it 6-5 when he led off the ninth against Cody Allen with his 23rd homer, a long drive to right-center. Obviously, he would have been pitched to differently if Judge had not been thrown out and that at-bat had taken place in the eighth. Still, Stanton not getting a crack with a runner in scoring position — or even on base — hurt.
“Man, that would have been a huge bag if we got on there,” Judge said. “Gomes made a perfect throw and Lindor made a great tag. Weren’t able to get it done. Especially when Stanton comes up the next inning and hits a home run like that, it’s tough, but you have to take those gambles.”
Greg Bird followed Stanton’s homer with a single, but Miguel Andujar hit into a double play. Neil Walker drew a walk, but pinch hitter Didi Gregorius popped up to end it.
German (2-5, 5.49), who battled command issues throughout, fell behind 4-0 after two innings and was charged with six runs in four innings-plus. He allowed five hits and four walks, striking out six.
Bieber (5-1, 3.53) allowed four runs (three earned) and five hits in seven innings-plus. “He made a couple mistakes, but just a couple,” Judge said. “Really was commanding the zone all night.”
That was not the case for German, especially in a 27-pitch first inning. Lindor walked and stole second. Michael Brantley walked and a wild pitch — on a curveball that hit several feet short of the plate — put runners at second and third. “He couldn’t command his fastball the first couple of innings,” Boone said. Jose Ramirez’s groundout made it 1-0, but Edwin Encarnacion and Yonder Alonso struck out.
Tyler Naquin singled with one out in the second and Yan Gomes skied an RBI double off the wall in left over the leaping Gardner’s glove. Brantley’s two-out, two-run double made it 4-0.
After the Yankees drew within 4-3, helped by Walker’s RBI double and Gardner’s sacrifice fly, German allowed an RBI triple by Ramirez and Jonathan Holder gave up an RBI single by Alonso.
“I wasn’t commanding my fastball at all,” German said through his translator. “When you’re facing a team like they have and you’re not locating, you make it hard on yourself.”