Trevor Bauer and Sonny Gray were locked in an unexpected pitcher’s duel for four innings before Francisco Lindor broke through in the top of the fifth with a bullet to the bleachers in right field. The Tribe had opportunities before that when they had the bases loaded and one out in the third inning, but a strikeout of Jason Kipnis and a fly out by Jose Ramirez ended the threat. That wasted opportunity in the third loomed large after the Yankees struck for four runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth.
Through four innings, Bauer was absolutely cruising. He hadn’t allowed a base runner to this point and got Giancarlo Stanton to pop out to start the fifth. Back to back walks of Neil Walker and Miguel Andujar forced Bauer into the stretch for the first time all afternoon and the wheels began to fall off. Gleyber Torres singled to load the bases and Bauer got Austin Romine to a full count before walking in the Yankees first run of the game to tie it. Ronald Torreyes then hit an ground ball to short for an inning ending double play, thus preserving the tie game going into the sixth...
...at least, that’s what I should have been able to type. Unfortunately, that’s not how things played out. A routine ground ball hit directly to Francisco Lindor hit glove and then bounced wide, allowing all runners to advance safely. Lindor, in an attempt to salvage the play, quickly corralled the ball and slung it to third base. Unfortunately, his throw was wide and allowed Torres to scramble home after Andujar. A play that should have ended the inning resulted in 2 runs for the Yankees and an extra 12 pitches for Bauer before the inning ended on a strikeout of Aaron Judge. Visibly frustrated, Bauer slapped his glove to the ground. I get Bauer’s frustration. I wouldn’t have necessarily had it outwardly displayed like that, which probably didn’t make Lindor feel any better, but I’m also not the one pitching. A two error play by Lindor is a unicorn, so hopefully we never see it again?
The Tribe made things interesting in the ninth when Edwin Encarnacion got a double to left field, but Yonder Alonso followed with his fourth strikeout of the day and Tyler Naquin grounded out to end the game.
This game was frustrating on multiple levels. The obvious example is the double error by Lindor that ended up being the difference in the game. Another example is the 13 strikeouts that the Cleveland hitters amassed. A third is the 13 runners left on base by Cleveland today. A fourth is the fact that the stupid Yankees won another game, matching their best stretch of baseball (14-1) in 20 years.
But hey, the bullpen only gave up 1 run today, so that’s a silver lining I suppose.
The final game in the series is at the same time tomorrow afternoon. Mike Clevinger toes the rubber against Domingo German and hopefully can scrape together a win to end this long, break-less stretch of games.