Luis Severino was almost up to the task of matching Corey Kluber on Monday night.
But almost doesn’t typically get it done against the Indians’ ace, especially when he’s facing the Yankees.
Solidifying his place among the top Yankees pitching tormentors of the past decade, an impressive group featuring the likes of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Dallas Keuchel, Kluber helped the Indians beat the Yankees, 6-2, in front of 36,253 at the Stadium.
Kluber allowed two runs and three hits in eight innings, lifting his career numbers against the Yankees to 5-1 with a 1.80 ERA and an 0.80 WHIP in seven starts. He has allowed 33 hits and seven walks in 50 innings, striking out 58.
The righthander, who walked one and struck out seven, bolstered his AL Cy Young Award candidacy, improving to 13-4 with a 2.63 ERA. He pitched a three-hitter against the Yankees on Aug. 3 in Cleveland, striking out 11 and walking one in Cleveland’s 5-1 victory.
The Yankees (70-60) fell 3 ½ games behind the AL East-leading Red Sox.
The Indians had only six hits, but four of them were home runs. Three, including two by Jose Ramirez, were hit off Severino (11-6, 3.14 ERA). He allowed four runs (three earned) and four hits in 6 2⁄3 innings, striking out nine and walking three.
Severino, who entered the game 6-1 with a 2.16 ERA since the All-Star break, departed shortly after allowing a home run by Carlos Santana, a drive into the second deck in right in the seventh that made it 3-2.
Adam Warren wild-pitched a run home in the seventh, allowing an inherited runner to score, and gave up a home run by Austin Jackson in the eighth that made it 5-2. Chasen Shreve allowed a run in the ninth.
In the first inning, Ramirez ripped a straight full-count fastball, which came in at 98 mph, to right-center for his 19th homer to give Cleveland a 1-0 lead. The Yankees tied it in the third when Chase Headley, who had been 0-for-11 against Kluber, homered to right.
Gary Sanchez, who allowed two more wild pitches to get past him, helped Severino out of a jam in the fourth.
Ramirez walked with one out and stole second. When Severino threw one in the dirt, Ramirez tried to advance but was gunned down at third by Sanchez for the second out. Edwin Encarnacion and Jay Bruce walked, but Severino struck out Santana to end the threat.
After Severino retired the Indians in order on 11 pitches in the top of the fifth, the Yankees got a runner in scoring position in the bottom half and came through.
Jacoby Ellsbury started things by slicing a two-out double to left-center, the Yankees’ second hit of the night. After falling behind 0-and-2, Todd Frazier — 2-for-24 against Kluber to that point — lined a 2-and-2 curveball to left for an RBI single that made it 2-1.
After Severino struck out Francisco Lindor and Jackson on sliders to start the sixth, he threw another straight 98-mph fastball that Ramirez planted in the second deck for his 20th homer and a 2-2 tie.
Corey Kluber’s impressive career numbers against the Yankees: