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Bullpen ruins David Phelps' good effort in 9-3 loss to Indians
Mid-game Thursday night, Brian Cashman spoke on a conference call discussing the latest pitcher to depart from his rotation because of injury.
"As I'm on this call, unless something's changed, we're winning this game right now,'' Cashman said while talking about Masahiro Tanaka being lost for at least the next six weeks.
The Yankees indeed were winning, leading the Indians by three runs behind David Phelps' shutout pitching. But that started to change, and quickly.
The Indians scored four runs in the seventh and five in the eighth -- putting together 10 hits in the process -- to hand the Yankees a 9-3 loss in front of 28,334 at Progressive Field.
The Yankees, who won three of four in Minneapolis to start this 11-game, three-city trip, split the four-game series with the Indians. They will finish the first half with three games against the AL East-leading Orioles.
Phelps entered the seventh with a 3-0 lead after a two-run homer by Zelous Wheeler and an RBI single by Yangervis Solarte, called up earlier in the day.
But after Chris Dickerson and Roberto Perez led off the seventh with singles, Joe Girardi went to lefthander Matt Thornton to face Jason Kipnis, whose infield single off Thornton's glove loaded the bases. Had Thornton not gotten his glove on it, Derek Jeter was in position to turn a likely double play.
Asdrubal Cabrera followed with a three-run triple into the rightfield corner that tied it at 3-3. Michael Brantley's sacrifice fly put the Indians ahead.
"Looking back, I'd like to jump out of the way of it, but that's not how it works," Thornton said. "Anyone who's on the mound and had a ball hit back to them, you're going to react to it. I was just slow enough to slap it but not quick enough to get it. It changes the momentum of the game right there. Tough break."
The Indians added five runs against Jim Miller in the eighth. Perez hit a two-run homer, Brantley smashed a grounder off Jeter's glove for an RBI single and Carlos Santana hit a two-run homer to make it 9-3.
So after allowing the two runners he inherited from Phelps to score, Thornton combined with Miller to allow seven runs, eight hits and a walk in two innings.
Phelps, as usual, blamed himself. "My first six innings were good. I need to do a better job in the seventh getting the leadoff hitter out," he said. "Get him out, it changes the inning."