Yankees overcome costly late errors, edge Indians 7-6
CLEVELAND (AP) — Aaron Hicks delivered an RBI double with two outs in the 10th inning as the New York Yankees overcame stunning errors in the ninth by stars Aroldis Chapman and Didi Gregorius and avoided a sweep with a 7-6 win over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday.
Hicks' shot to the wall in left-center off Oliver Pérez (1-1) scored Cameron Maybin, who had doubled with one out.
The Yankees headed home to a Subway Series matchup against the Mets with a win in the series against Cleveland after blowing a 5-0 lead in the sixth and a 6-5 advantage in the ninth, when Chapman and Gregorius made costly miscues.
Chapman (1-1) got the win despite his shaky performance, and Stephen Tarpley, recalled earlier when the Yankees placed Domingo Germán on the injured list, struck out the side in the 10th for his first save since 2010 in the Dominican Summer League.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone had to rely on his bullpen after scheduled starter Masahiro Tanaka was placed on paternity leave.
Brett Gardner hit a two-run homer for New York, which had won nine straight series before going 2-4 on a trip to Toronto and Cleveland.
Mike Freeman connected for a two-run homer and Jake Bauers and Leonys Martin had solo shots for the Indians, who went 4-2 this week against AL Central-leading Minnesota and the powerful Yankees.
Down to their last out, the Indians tied it 6-6.
Jose Ramirez opened the inning with a single and went to second on Chapman's wild pickoff throw. Roberto Perez walked, Jake Bauers popped out on a bunt attempt and Kevin Plawecki flied out.
Gregorius, who had just entered a defensive replacement, tried to backhand Francisco Lindor's hard grounder, but the usually sure-handed shortstop allowed the ball to hit off his glove. It ricocheted off his left leg and bounced to the tarp behind third base as Ramirez scored and pinch-runner Tyler Naquin hustled into third. Gregorius returned just on Friday after recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Chapman got out of the inning by striking out rookie Oscar Mercado.
After blowing a 5-0 lead, the Yankees had gone ahead in the ninth on Clint Frazier's tie-breaking sacrifice fly.
Gardner bounced back from a painful, self-inflicted injury — and snapped an 0-for-22 slide — by hitting a two-run homer in New York's five-run second inning as the Yankees jumped on Indians starter Shane Bieber.
On Saturday, Gardner needed six stitches to close a gash on his lip after smashed his helmet in frustration against a wall in New York's dugout, only do have it ricochet and strike him in the mouth. It was an ironic twist as Gardner had recently admonished teammate DJ LeMahieu.
Not long after a small brown bat — a winged one, not a Louisville Slugger model — was seen hanging upside down on the netting near home plate, the Indians' bats awakened.
Down 5-0 after two, and unable to get anything going against fill-in starter Chad Green or Nestor Cortes Jr., Cleveland scored four in the sixth off Tommy Kahnle.
Yankees: Gregorius didn't start after going 4 for 8 with one home run and two RBIs in his first two games since October. "Didi is a gamer, so obviously he wants to be in there every day," Boone said. "But I think this is a wise progression for him just coming back."
Indians: 2B Jason Kipnis was removed following the fifth with tightness in his right hip. ... RHP Carlos Carrasco will visit an oncologist Monday at the Cleveland Clinic. The 32-year-old was recently diagnosed with a blood condition and placed on the injured list.
Yankees: Tanaka (3-5, 3.42 ERA) will be reinstated Monday to start the opener of a two-game series against the crosstown Mets.
Indians: Following a day off, RHP Trevor Bauer (4-6, 3.93 ERA) will start Tuesday against the Cincinnati Reds. Bauer carries a career-long, five-game losing streak into the outing. He's 1-4 with a 5.61 ERA in seven home starts.