EditorsNote: Minor edits throughout
Aaron Hicks hit a tiebreaking double off Corey Kluber with one out in the eighth inning and the New York Yankees recorded a 7-4 victory over the host Cleveland Indians on Thursday night at Progressive Field.
With one out, Hicks ripped a booming fly ball on Kluber’s full-count changeup. The ball traveled over center fielder Greg Allen’s head before bouncing off the wall, allowing Didi Gregorius to score for a 5-4 lead. Gregorius had been on first base after a leadoff walk.
Hicks’ latest big hit also knocked out Kluber (12-5), who labored at times but was pitching in the eighth because Cleveland’s bullpen entered with the worst ERA in the majors at 5.39.
After doubling, Hicks stole third on a headfirst slide, with the “safe” ruling upheld via replay, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Greg Bird off left-hander Oliver Perez.
New York’s Brett Gardner hit a pair of homers, connecting in the third for a two-run shot off Kluber and hitting a solo drive off the right field foul pole in the ninth off Tyler Olson. It was his seventh career multi-homer game and second this season.
The electrifying pitching duel between Kluber and Luis Severino never materialized as both right-handed aces struggled with command at times.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time starting pitchers with at least 12 wins opposed each other before the All-Star break since July 18, 1974, when Catfish Hunter (13-8) pitched for Oakland against Cleveland’s Gaylord Perry (15-2).
Kluber tied a career high in giving up six runs in 7 1/3-innings stint. He gave up eight hits, struck out nine, walked two and threw 114 pitches, two shy of his season high and seven shy of his career high.
Severino allowed four runs on a season-high nine hits in five innings. He gave up at least three runs in consecutive starts for the first time since July 2-8, 2017.
Four Yankees relievers pitched a scoreless inning apiece.
David Robertson (6-3) was credited with the win after pitching the seventh. Dellin Betances struck out Jason Kipnis to end the eighth after getting defensive help from catcher Austin Romine and second baseman Tyler Wade. Aroldis Chapman pitched a perfect ninth inning to notch his 25th save in 26 chances.
Jose Ramirez singled and hit a solo homer that forged a 4-4 deadlock in the fifth before Cleveland fell to 0-4 against the Yankees and dropped its seventh straight game to the Yankees since Game 2 of the AL Division Series last October. Ramirez reached 28 homers in the fifth inning, passing Albert Belle for the most in team history before the All-Star break.
Edwin Encarnacion also homered for the Indians, who lost for the fifth time in six games.
Gregorius hit a solo homer in the fourth for the Yankees, who are a season-high 30 games over .500. Bird followed Gregorius’ homer with an RBI double in the fourth that gave the Yankees a 4-3 lead until Ramirez homered.
—Field Level Media