Torres HR in 9th, Yanks top Indians 7-4; 15 wins in 16 games
At 21 years and 144 days, bettered Mickey Mantle, who was 21 years and 185 days when he hit three-run, ninth-inning drive of Boston’s Ellis Kinder in a 6-3 win on April 23, 1953.
Domingo German pitched six hitless innings in his first major league start for the Yankees, who nonetheless fell behind 4-0 when Cleveland broke through against relievers Dellin Betances and Jonathan Holder. Yonder Alonso’s leadoff single against Betances in the eighth was the first hit for the Indians.
But after managing only one hit themselves against a stellar Mike Clevinger, the Yankees fought right back to win their sixth straight and finish off a three-game sweep. New York also took the final three games of last year’s playoff series between the teams.
Clevinger went 7 1/3 innings in his first start against the Yankees, setting career highs with 10 strikeouts and 116 pitches. He issued two of his four walks in the eighth as New York rallied.
Short in the bullpen, Cleveland manager Terry Francona called on closer Cody Allen, looking for a five-out save. Allen gave up a two-out RBI single to Brett Gardner and a two-run double to Aaron Judge before retiring Gary Sanchez with two on to end the inning.
Aaron Hicks and Neil Walker, who began the day batting .182, opened the ninth with consecutive doubles to tie it, chasing Allen (2-1). One out later, pinch-hitter Giancarlo Stanton was intentionally walked and Torres drove a full-count pitch from Dan Otero over the center-field fence.
Torres, who connected for his first big league homer Friday night, raised one arm and turned back toward the New York dugout after rounding first base. He was mobbed and doused by teammates at home plate.
Chasen Shreve (2-0) struck out two in a perfect ninth for the win.
The 15-1 stretch matches the Yankees’ best 16-game run since 1980.
After winning their ninth consecutive home game, next up is a Yankee Stadium showdown with the rival Red Sox for first place in the AL East. A three-game series between the top two teams in the majors begins Tuesday night.
Tyler Naquin’s RBI single and Francisco Lindor’s RBI double keyed Cleveland’s four-run burst in the eighth. The Indians also scored on Gary Sanchez’s sixth passed ball of the season and Jason Kipnis’ sacrifice fly.
Until the eighth, Hicks’ leadoff single in the fifth off Clevinger was the only hit in a scoreless game.
German was removed after 84 pitches, 23 more than his previous high this season, in relief Tuesday at Houston. The 25-year-old rookie, who stepped into the rotation for injured Jordan Montgomery, struck out nine and walked two.
Betances worked a 1-2-3 seventh before giving up three straight singles starting the eighth.
German became the sixth pitcher to start for the Yankees this season, leaving Houston, Colorado and the Chicago Cubs as the only teams to use only five.
Indians: LHP Andrew Miller (strained left hamstring) plans to throw off a mound Tuesday, perhaps with hitters standing in, but won’t be reinstated from the disabled list until Friday at the earliest. Miller threw a bullpen Saturday and was eligible to be activated Sunday. … With banged-up center fielder Bradley Zimmer out of the lineup, Cleveland recalled OF Greg Allen from Triple-A Columbus. Allen played center and batted ninth. To make roster room for him, Cleveland optioned reliever Ben Taylor to Columbus. Zimmer exited Saturday’s loss after crashing hard into the fence trying to catch Austin Romine’s double. He has a bruised left shoulder and hip but no concussion, manager Terry Francona said. After a day off Monday, the team hopes Zimmer can return to the lineup Tuesday night in Milwaukee.
Indians: Two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber (5-1, 2.41 ERA) pitches the opener of a two-game interleague series Tuesday against Milwaukee LHP Wade Miley (1-0, 1.50).
Yankees: RHP Luis Severino (5-1, 2.11) starts the series opener Tuesday night against Boston LHP Drew Pomeranz (1-1, 6.14). Coming off his first career shutout last Wednesday in Houston, Severino is 2-5 with a 4.82 ERA vs. the Red Sox.