CLEVELAND -- Despite a lead-off home run from Giancarlo Stanton in the ninth inning, the Cleveland Indians rode a strong pitching performance from rookie right-hander Shane Bieber and production from all parts of the batting order to a 6-5 victory over the New York Yankees at Progressive Field Friday night.
Bieber allowed five hits, two walks and four runs against six strikeouts over seven-plus innings of work in his first career start against a Yankees team that is on base to smash the Major League Baseball record for home runs by a team in a single season.
Six different Indians batters got base hits.
With the win, the Indians improved to 51-42 on the season and maintained at least a 7.5-game lead over the Minnesota Twins for first place in the American League Central Division, while the Yankees dropped to 61-32 after the setback.
The Indians took a 1-0 lead over the Yankees in the bottom of the first inning.
Yankees starter Domingo German struggled with control issues and threw three pitches outside of the strike zone in his first four offerings to shortstop Francisco Lindor, and the Indians’ table-setter fought his way to a lead-off walk, which left fielder Michael Brantley promptly followed with a second straight free pass.
After German bounced a pitch in the dirt to third baseman Jose Ramirez, an offering that trickled away from catcher Kyle Higashioka and allowed Lindor and Brantley to each move up a base, the two-time American League All-Star infielder smashed an RBI groundout to first base.
In their next at-bat, the Indians got to their 2-0 lead early, and this time around, just kept going on the way to a four-run lead after the bottom of the second inning against the Yankees.
On a 1-1 count, outfielder Tyler Naquin hit a two-seam fastball through the hole at shortstop and into left field for the Indians’ first hit of the game, and four pitches later, came around to score the Tribe’s second run when catcher Yan Gomes hit a double off the wall in left field.
Gomes sat on a 2-1 fastball from German and hit it deep to left field. While Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner timed his jump correctly, the ball hit off the screen protecting the out-of-town scoreboard six inches above his glove and ricocheted back to the outfield grass.
After seeing the ball hit off the board, Naquin motored around the base paths from just beyond second and into home standing up.
The big hit of the inning came when Brantley drilled a double to the gap in center field and brought around both Gomes and Lindor, who drew his second walk of the game in as many at-bats against German.
While the Indians had success early, the Yankees got back into the game with a three-run showing in the top of the fifth inning.
Courtesy of two doubles, a wild pitch and sacrifice fly, the Yankees cut the Indians’ lead down to a single run, 4-3, after their half of the fifth inning.
Although the Yankees pushed across three runs in the top of the fifth inning, the Indians had a response in the bottom half of the frame.
The Indians got back two of the runs they allowed, and took a 6-3 lead over the Yankees after five innings of play.
Brantley started the inning with a single to center field after fouling off both a curveball and two-seam fastball from German, and then, went all the way from first base to home when All-Star third baseman Jose Ramirez lined a triple into the right-field corner.
Following a walk to designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion from reliever Jonathan Holder, first baseman Yonder Alonso hit an RBI single to right field that drove in Ramirez for the Indians’ sixth run of the game.