Tanaka, Judge help Yankees rebound with 3-2 win over Indians
In a game with a postseason feel, Judge broke out of his slump with two hits and two runs, Gardner made a game-saving catch in center and the New York Yankees rebounded from their worst home loss of the year with a 3-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.
“That was a big-time play,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He didn’t have to leave his feet or anything like that, but you’re not going to see a lot of better plays — especially in that spot.”
With one out in the eighth inning and Tyler Naquin on second in a one-run game, Francisco Lindor hit a 374-foot drive off Zack Britton to deep right-center field. Gardner raced back, made the grab and held onto the ball as he ran into the fence in front of the Yankees’ bullpen.
“Ten out of 10 times I know he’s going to make that play,” Judge said. “Where he was positioned, the jump he got and from my view how he was tracking it down — I know he had a good bead on it, and he saved the game for us.”
Masahiro Tanaka pitched effectively into the seventh and New York (82-42) clinched its 27th consecutive winning record since 1993, the second-longest streak in major league history behind the Yankees’ run of 39 seasons from 1926-64.
Gary Sánchez and Gleyber Torres each had an RBI single for the AL East leaders, who increased their cushion to 10½ games over Tampa Bay. They won for the 15th time in 18 tries and bounced right back from a 19-5 defeat Thursday night in the opener of this four-game series.
“It was a big play,” Gardner said. “Obviously if I don’t get to it, there’s no telling how the rest of the game unfolds.”
José Ramírez and Yasiel Puig homered for the Indians, who dropped 1½ games behind the first-place Twins in the AL Central. Minnesota won 4-3 at Texas.
The Indians, leading the wild-card standings, lost for just the fourth time in 19 road games. They are a big league-best 45-19 since June 4.
“Nobody expected this series is going to be easy for us,” Puig said. “This is a good team that we faced.”
Tanaka (9-6) tossed 6 1/3 solid innings, allowing two runs and four hits — three to the red-hot Ramírez. The right-hander struck out two, walked none and got 10 outs on grounders.
It was the second straight strong outing for Tanaka, who modified his splitter grip after giving up 12 runs July 25 in Boston. He permitted seven runs over his first two starts following that 19-3 loss but threw eight-plus innings of three-hit ball Sunday in a 1-0 win at Toronto.
This time, Tanaka fired 27 splitters and got six groundball outs on them. He worked quickly and allowed just four baserunners.
Judge had his first multihit game since Aug. 3, a night after going 0 for 5 with four strikeouts. He entered the game with three hits in his previous 31 at-bats but singled, doubled and reached safely three times.
“Any game you get a hit your first at-bat, it’s usually a pretty good thing,” Judge said. “It’s tough to get two, so I’m just glad I could contribute tonight.”
Judge scored New York’s first run on Sánchez’s RBI single in the first and another in the fifth on a base hit by Gio Urshela when Puig bobbled the ball in right field for an error.
Ramírez hit his 20th homer and third of the series in the second. He also singled to open the fifth, but Tanaka did not allow another hit until Puig went deep in the seventh.
Tanaka gave up a sharp double to Ramírez following Puig’s homer and walked off the mound to a nice ovation.
Tommy Kahnle struck out two in the seventh and Britton — aided by Gardner’s clutch catch — worked around an error in a scoreless eighth.
“I thought Frankie’s ball had a chance to get out,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
Aroldis Chapman converted his 34th save in 39 chances. New York held the Indians to four hits after giving up 24 the night before.
Indians rookie Aaron Civale (1-2) allowed three runs, two earned, and eight hits in six innings.
The Yankees recalled RHP Ryan Dull from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, two days after claiming him off waivers from San Francisco. … LHP Joe Mantiply and RHP Brady Lail were sent outright to Triple-A.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco faced hitters for the first time since being diagnosed in June with a treatable form of leukemia. He threw 25 pitches of batting practice at Class A Lake County. Francona said everything went well and the team will determine what the next step is. … RHP Dan Otero (shoulder inflammation) and Tyler Olson (shingles) pitched in a minor league game with Triple-A Columbus.
Yankees: 1B-DH Luke Voit (sports hernia) ran the bases and took grounders. Voit will join Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Monday to continue his workouts and could start a rehab assignment by the end of next week.