Brantley’s homer lifts Indians to 5-2 win over Yankees
CLEVELAND (AP) With a flight to catch, Michael Brantley quickly dressed and stuffed some batting gloves, cleats and other gear into a red-white-and-blue duffel bag.
Brantley’s headed to the All-Star Game. Before leaving, he again showed why he’s going.
Brantley homered leading off the eighth inning, and the Cleveland Indians headed into the break with a 5-2 win over the New York Yankees on Sunday to split the four-game series between teams that could see each other in October.
One of six Indians selected to play Tuesday in Washington, Brantley broke a 2-2 tie by belting a pitch from Chad Green (5-2) into the seats in right for his 12th homer – and 17th game-tying or go-ahead RBI this season.
”I got a pitch out over the plate, put a good swing on it and was lucky to give us the lead,” Brantley said. ”At the same time, the guys behind me did a great job putting quality at-bats together and scoring an extra couple of runs. It was nice.”
Neil Walker homered for the Yankees, who are 29 games over .500 but trail the scorching Boston Red Sox by 4 1/2 games in the AL East.
”There’s nothing we can do about it,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. ”We’ve got the Mets. That’s our next up. Hopefully we get some cooperation standings-wise, but you’ll drive yourself crazy in July trying to keep track of that.”
Carlos Carrasco (11-5) earned his first win in relief since July 19, 2014. The right-hander was available after pitching only five innings in Wednesday night’s 19-4 blowout of Cincinnati.
Cleveland’s cleanup hitter homered in the fourth, but had to leave after being hit by a pitch on the right hand. Though it initially appeared Encarnacion might be badly hurt, Terry Francona said the slugger is OK.
”He got the meat of the hand fortunately, and he checked out fine,” he said. ”That was a big sigh of relief. That looked like it whacked him pretty good.”
Aaron Judge struck out three times against All-Star Trevor Bauer, and Giancarlo Stanton fanned twice for New York.
Battling the heat early on, Bauer held the power-packed Bronx Bombers in check for seven innings, limiting them to two runs and seven hits. The right-hander will not pitch on Tuesday at Nationals Park unless the game goes to extra innings and Houston manager A.J. Hinch runs out of arms.
”Yeah, I’d love to be on the mound Tuesday,” Bauer said ”Who knows? It’s not my decision where I pitch or not. I’m probably the only person in baseball rooting for extra innings in the All-Star Game.”
New York’s Masahiro Tanaka was just as good, allowing two runs and six hits in his second start since coming off the disabled list. He’s unbeaten in his last 11 starts stretching back to April 17.
Tanaka coasted through three innings before Encarnacion tied it 2-2 in the fourth with home run No. 22.
”Edwin’s hit was huge,” Francona said. ”To beat Tanaka, to be competitive against him, you got to be so disciplined and that split is such a good pitch and we were kind of having a hard time. And then when Edwin tied it with one swing, you’re like, `OK, at least we’re not losing.’ That was a huge hit for us.”
Ramirez is just the fifth player in history with at least 25 homers and 20 steals before the All-Star break, joining Bobby Bonds (1973), Eric Davis (1987), Alex Rodriguez (1998) and Alfonso Soriano (2006).
Boone didn’t have any say in his plans for the All-Star break.
”I heard I’m going to Six Flags,” he said, referring to the amusement park. Boone is looking forward to being with his family and ”doing a little summer time.”
Francona has a new home in Tucson, Arizona, which needs carpet and other necessities before he moves in after the season. Beyond some decorating, he’s anxious for some down time.
”I can spend three days just swimming and laying in the sun,” he said. “And I can use it. I’m wiped out.”
Yankees: C Gary Sanchez homered for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and played seven innings in the first game of his rehab stint. Sanchez has been out since June 25 with a strained right groin.
Indians: LHP Andrew Miller is pitching at Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday. The former All-Star has been out with inflammation in his right knee, but he’s progressed to the point where he can pitch in games.
Yankees: Open a three-game series at home with the Mets on Friday.
Indians: Start the season’s second half Friday at Texas.
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