Yankees stagger into Sox series, swept by Indians
New York — Trevor Bauer and Ryan Merritt shut down the Yankees' offense, leading the Cleveland Indians to a doubleheader sweep that damaged New York's chances to win the AL East. Bauer won his career-best seventh straight decision, Jose Ramirez tied his big league high with four hits and the Indians took advantage of Gary Sanchez's passed ball in a two-run first inning that stood up for a 2-1 win in Wednesday's opener.
Yandy Diaz hit a two-run single in a four-run first inning against rookie Jordan Montgomery in the second game, and Edwin Encarnacion, Yan Gomes and Francisco Lindor added home runs in a 9-4 blowout that completed a three-game series sweep and extended the Indians' winning streak to seven games.
Defending AL champion Cleveland has won 16 of 20, opening a 7 1/2-game lead over second-place Minnesota in the AL Central.
New York dropped five games behind first-place Boston in the AL East heading into a four-game series against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium starting tonight. While the Baby Bombers lead the wild-card race, eight teams still have realistic chances to make the one-game playoff, and 24 of New York's remaining 30 games are against those contenders.
Sanchez's 13th passed ball, second-most in the major leagues, caused an unearned run. Lindor singled leading off, stole second, went to third on Ramirez's single and came home on the passed ball, which also allowed Ramirez to advance.
Both starters were brought up from the minors for the second game, and Merritt (2-0) began 16 of 22 batters with strikes, allowing one run and five hits in 5 1/3 innings. Cleveland sent 10 batters to the plate in the first against Montgomery (7-7), taking a 2-0 lead on Encarnacion's RBI single and Carlos Santana's run-scoring double.
Montgomery needed 43 pitches to get through the first and allowed four runs and six hits in four innings. Greg Bird drove in four runs with an RBI single in the second and a three-run homer in the ninth.
Yankees: LHP Aroldis Chapman underwent an MRI on Sunday to seek the cause of discomfort in his pitching elbow. The Yankees said no issues were found. Chapman, who lost his closer's job in mid-August following poor performances, says he has a little soreness.