Thursday, July 7, 2016

Yanks Touch Up Bauer For Five, Win Series Opener In Cleveland, 5-4

On a rare beautiful night in Cleveland(not in New York for those who read last night's blog, my apologies), the Yankees took on the AL Central leading Cleveland Indians in the first game of the four-game series. Taking the ball for the Yankees, looking to shut down the white-hot Indians, was right-hander Ivan Nova. Nova is coming off of his best start of the season in San Diego, where he went six scoreless but walked away with the no decision. The biggest strength for the Cleven Indians this season has been their starting pitching and tonight's starter Trevor Bauer is not only one of the best on the team but also one of the best in all of baseball the last several weeks. Bauer is coming off of a string of seven consecutive quality starts. But, the Yankee offense  was clearly ticked off over their shut out performance last night and took out their collective frustrations on Bauer tonight.

The Indians were first to hit the scoreboard tonight, coming in the bottom of the third. Rookie sensation Tyler Naquin ripped a line drive solo shot off of Nova to dead center to lead off the frame that put the Indians up by one. Then, two batters later, Jason Kipnis also smashed a solo homerun to right-centerfield that extended the Indians lead to two.

The Bomber bats, however, would come back in a big way, beginning in the top of the fifth. With one out, the red-hot Didi Gregorius took a Trevor Bauer fastball and lined it over the right-field fence, making it a 2-1 ballgame. After giving up back to back singles to the next two batters Headley and Refsnyder, Bauer served up a two-out single to Brett Gardner that scored Headley from second, tying the game at two.

New York would knock Trevor Bauer out of the game in the top of the sixth. After allowing consecutive one out singles to Castro and Gregorius, Chase Headley lined a single into left field that caused a play at the plate. Though Castro was originally called out, a four minute review overturn the call and Castro was called safe, which gave the Yankees the lead for the first time in the game at 3-2. Then, Refsnyder hit a sacrifice fly that scored Gregorius and forced Bauer from the game. In relief of the righty, T.J. House came on and immediately served up another single to Jacoby Ellsbury that scored Headley and gave the Yankees a 5-2 lead.

Ivan Nova's night would come to an end in the bottom of the sixth. Nova allowed a leadoff double to Carlos Santana, who advanced to third when the next batter Jason Kipnis hit another double that ricocheted off of right fielder Refsnyder's glove that was retrieved by Ellsbury, holding Santana at third. Nova then threw a wild pitch to the next batter Francisco Lindor that moved Kipnis to third and scored Santana from third, making it a 5-3 ballgame.  Nova would be pulled after getting Lindor to ground out, departing with a final line of 5.1 innings pitched, allowing four runs on five hits with no walks and six strikeouts.

The first member of No Runs DMC Delin Betances came on in relief of Nova as the Yankees tried to hold on to a game one win. The 6'8" righty immediately got Mike Napoli to ground out, scoring Kipnis from third and pulling the Indians to within one at 5-4. Betances and Miller would keep the game at 5-4 as they combined to allow just one hit and struck out three. Chapman's night, on the other hand, did not come so drama-free as he allowed the first Yankee walk of the game to Mike Napoli to lead off the ninth. Jose Ramirez struck out and then pinch hitter Juan Uribe lined a single off of the closer, advancing Napoli to second. After getting Rajai Davis to line out to left, more replay review was necessary as the speedy Naquin smoked a ball to first that hit off of Teixeira's glove in the direction of Starlin Castro who tossed it over to Chapman covering first base. The call on the field was "safe", but after another lengthy review the call was overturned and the Yankees won the game.

 Once again the Yankees pulled two within a game of .500 and will try to get back to it tomorrow night in game two, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM ET.

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