CLEVELAND — The pitching clinic some expected to see Thursday night when Luis Severino and Corey Kluber shared a mound at Progressive Field never materialized.
Nor did two of the top pitchers in the baseball, both headed for the All-Star Game, get spanked.
Kluber was better than Severino, but the Yankees handed the right-hander and the Indians a 7-4 loss in front of 31,267.
Kluber had routinely dominated the Yankees in the regular season (5-1, 1.80 ERA in seven career starts), but got punished by them in last year’s ALCS, when he went 0-1 with a 12.79 ERA in two starts.
In 7 ¹/₃ innings Thursday, Kluber (12-5) gave up six runs and eight hits, two of which were homers by Brett Gardner and Didi Gregorius.
“He has been everything you want out of an ace,’’ Aaron Boone said before the game of his stud Severino, who has a chance to be named the AL All-Star starter for Tuesday night’s game in Washington.
For the second consecutive outing, Severino lasted just five innings, but unlike Saturday in Toronto, he didn’t win, departing with the score tied, 4-4.
In five frames, Severino gave up four runs and nine hits, two of which were homers to Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Ramirez. Severino had won each of his past five starts and hasn’t lost since June 10, when the Mets beat him 2-0 at Citi Field.
Luis Severino lasted just five innings for his second consecutive outing.APPitching for the first time since leaving Saturday’s game with a bothersome left knee, Aroldis Chapman recorded the final three outs for his 25th save.
Gardner homered twice and Gregorius once for the winners, who are 5-3 on an 11-game, 10 day road trip leading to the All-Star Game, with three games left against the Indians.
A leadoff walk to Gregorius led to Kluber’s demise in the eighth. With Gregorius running on a 3-2 pitch with one out, Aaron Hicks drove the ball to deep center for a double that drove in Gregorius for a 5-4 lead. Former Mets lefty Oliver Perez surfaced from the pen to face left-handed hitting Greg Bird and Hicks swiped third. Bird followed with a fly ball deep enough to score Hicks for a two-run lead.
It was Bird’s second RBI of the game. He has driven in 10 runs in the past three games.
Adam Warren replaced Severino and successfully pitched around a two-base fielding error by second baseman Neil Walker in the sixth. With one out, Jason Kipnis hit a hard ground ball at Walker, who was playing on the outfield grass. The ball glanced off Walker’s glove and got far enough away from him and not quite to right fielder Aaron Judge as Kipnis made second. Warren responded by striking out Tyler Naquin and watching Yan Gomes’ liner die in Bird’s leather at first base.
The Yankees scored twice in the fourth to take a 4-3 lead, but missed a chance to add on and possibly chase Kluber.
Gregorius’ leadoff homer to center tied the score, 3-3, before Giancarlo Stanton singled to center and Indians catcher Yan Gomes made a throwing error to second to put runners at the corners without an out. Bird doubled in Stanton and sent Hicks to third. With the infield in, Kluber walked Miguel Andujar to load the bases with no outs.
Kluber fanned Austin Romine for the first out. Walker’s line drive found first baseman Yonder Alonso’s glove and he stepped on first to double off Andujar and end the rally.
After retiring the first six Yankees, Kluber gave up a double to Andujar to start the third. The right-hander bounced back to strike out Romine looking and Walker swinging. Kluber got ahead of Gardner, 0-2, before Gardner lined a 2-2 pitch over the right-field wall to tie the score, 2-2.
Gardner’s eighth homer followed him striking out to start the game and gave him four hits in 20 (.200) at-bats against Kluber at the time of the homer.
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