Yan­kees find way vs. Klu­ber

Hicks’ run-scor­ing dou­ble in the eighth tops Klu­ber, In­di­ans

Albany Times Union - - FRONT PAGE -

Aaron Hicks comes through with a run­scor­ing dou­ble in the eighth in­ning to help New York top Cleve­land, and ace Corey Klu­ber.

In­di­ans man­ager Terry Fran­cona trusted Corey Klu­ber to keep the Yan­kees from scor­ing. At this point, he has no bet­ter op­tion. Klu­ber gave up a go-ahead dou­ble to Aaron Hicks with one out in the eighth in­ning as New York scored late against Cleve­land’s ace and downed the In­di­ans 7-4 on Thurs­day night in the Yan­kees’ first visit to Pro­gres­sive Field since last year’s AL play­offs.

Af­ter foul­ing a pitch off his foot, Hicks drove a 3-2 de­liv­ery from Klu­ber (12-5) to deep cen­ter field, scor­ing Didi Gre­go­rius eas­ily from first base when the ball one-hopped the wall.

Al­though Klu­ber was at 100 pitches through seven in­nings, Fran­cona elected to stick with him in the eighth rather than turn things over to his shaky bullpen, which has the league’s high­est ERA and is miss­ing An­drew Miller.

“I thought he was fine,” Fran­cona said of Klu­ber. “And he was at what, 100? And I thought he was throw­ing the ball well. I thought he was in com­mand of what he was do­ing.”

The Yan­kees added an­other run in the in­ning on Greg Bird’s sac­ri­fice fly off Oliver Perez.

Brett Gard­ner home­red twice and Gre­go­rius also con­nected for the Yan­kees, who over­came a 2-0 deficit and won the Di­vi­sion Se­ries by beat­ing Klu­ber in Game 5 last October.

New York is 30 games over .500 for the first time this sea­son, and for the first time be­fore the All-star break since 1998, when it won the World Se­ries.

Yan­kees All-star ace Luis Sev­erino only pitched five in­nings, but man­ager Aaron Boone got four hit­less in­nings from Adam War­ren, David Robert­son (6-3), Dellin Be­tances and closer Aroldis Chap­man, who got three outs for his 25th save — in his first ap­pear­ance since Satur­day be­cause of a sore left knee.

“Every win’s a good win,” Boone said. “That was a good win up against a great pitcher. Up and down the lineup we had big at­bats in big spots. On a night when Sevy didn’t have his best, the rest of the guys were able to come through in a big way.”

Jose Ramirez and Ed­win En­car­na­cion home­red off Sev­erino, who was de­nied his ma­jor league­lead­ing 15th win.

The mar­quee matchup between Klu­ber and Sev­erino — two of base­ball’s top pitch­ers — had every­one ex­cited.

“This is one of those games where if I wasn’t a man­ager, I’d come watch the game,” Fran­cona said be­fore­hand.

But nei­ther Klu­ber nor Sev­erino brought their “A” game. The All-stars each gave up two homers, both were hit harder than ex­pected and they were forced to pitch out of trou­ble through­out their stints.

Sev­erino al­lowed four runs and nine hits in five in­nings and recorded just one strike­out, his fewest since 2016.

“We did a great job against Sev­erino. He’s got ex­cep­tional stuff,” Fran­cona said. “We scored. We made him throw pitches. We got him out af­ter five, but their bullpen is also ex­cep­tional. They brought in four guys that are pretty good and they kind of did a num­ber on us.”

“I was look­ing for a heater,” Hicks said of his big hit. “I was look­ing for some­thing mid­dle-in I could drive. I got a lot of change­ups. I was swing­ing and miss­ing at it a lot. The pitch be­fore that I got a heater that I just missed. I think that’s what got me a changeup in that sit­u­a­tion. I just wanted to stay on the ball.”

Pho­tos by Tony De­jak / As­so­ci­ated Press

New York’s Brett Gard­ner watches the first of his two home runs in the Yan­kees’ win over Cleve­land on Thurs­day. Gard­ner has nine homers this sea­son.

Tony De­jak / As­so­ci­ated Press

New York’s Didi Gre­go­rius turns a dou­ble play. Gre­go­rius hit his 16th homer in the fourth in­ning.

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