The New York Yankees made the move that many fans of the Cleveland Indians were pining for when they traded for starting pitcher Sonny Gray of the Oakland Athletics. To potentially rub some salt in the wound of those pining, the first start for Gray in a Yankee uniform would come against the Indians in Cleveland. However, the Indians did not make a move for a starting pitcher because they have a few good ones of their own led by Corey Kluber, who would match up against Gray on Thursday. The Tribe proved to be too much for the Yanks and Gray as they jumped to an early lead and watched Kluber finish with a one-run complete game effort, 5-1.
The Yankees did Gray no favors early on as the defense committed three errors in the first inning. Perhaps it is some type of Yankee hazing ritual that is unknown to any outside the five burroughs sort of like putting butter on a roll.
The last of those errors was on a Jose Ramirez single to right field where former Indian Clint Frazier (thank you for Andrew Miller) attempts to make the long throw to third base to nab Michael Brantley. Not only would the throw have been late, but it ends up in the stands. Brantley was awarded home (Bradley Zimmer had already scored on the play).
The Indians worked up the pitch count on Gray much quicker than the Yankees did Kluber. Gray was at his maximum output in the sixth inning when he was allowed in to face one more batter, Yan Gomes. The Indians catcher might be struggling offensively in 2017, but he drove a shot off the left field wall in this one to score two more runs.
Just to make sure the Yanks had no thoughts of making a comeback, Francisco Lindor closed out the scoring in the seventh with a solo home run to push the lead to four runs.
Kluber would close out his night with 11 strikeouts, many of which would make the Yankees look ridiculous in their swings. The start also continued his ridiculous stretch of 12 starts since June began. In them, he has struck out at least 10 batters in 10 of those contests where he has struck out eight in the other two. In the 86.1 innings pitched, he has a 1.77 ERA (17 earned runs), 131 strikeouts to just 15 walks and 52 hits with opposing hitters batting .172/.216/.272 against him.
The Indians won, they kept their lead in the AL Central division, and they have three more games against the Yankees this weekend where they hope to continue their current eight-game home winning streak. All is good and there was even some leftover time for two former top prospects from the Indians farm system to catch up a bit before the game.