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Punchless Yankees lose to Indians and drop out of first place

Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees reacts

Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees reacts after striking out during the ninth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on Aug. 12, 2015 in Cleveland. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Jason Miller

CLEVELAND -- The big scoreboard in left showed the Yankees, situated in the first-base dugout for clear viewing, very early on what they were facing with a loss.

Second place for the first time in well over a month.

On the scoreboard, the rampaging Blue Jays had taken a 3-0 first-inning lead, the advantage ballooning to 10-2 by the second and the final score Toronto 10, Oakland 3.

The Yankees were not equal to the task.

With an offense that shows no signs of shaking out of a weeklong slump, the Yankees dropped their fifth straight, a 2-1 setback to the Indians Wednesday night in front of 18,844 at Progressive Field.

The Yankees (61-51), who led the AL East by seven games on July 28, fell a half-game behind the Blue Jays (63-52), who have won 10 straight, their first time out of the top spot since July 1.

After scoring 90 runs over a 10-game stretch, the Yankees, who finished with four hits Wednesday night, have totaled nine runs in seven games since. They have lost six of those games.

Wednesday night's offensive futility wasted a second straight solid outing by CC Sabathia (4-9, 5.23 ERA), who allowed nine hits over six innings but limited the damage to two runs.

Indians righthander Danny Salazar (10-6) battled his way through five walks, allowing four hits and one run over 71/3 innings.

Brian McCann, hitless in his previous 16 at-bats coming in, accounted for the run in the second by whacking a 1-and-1 fastball deep into the seats in right-center for his 19th homer for a 1-0 lead.

Entering the night, the Yankees' 1-5 hitters were a remarkable 2-for-66 the previous three games.

Sabathia consistently pitched out of trouble over the first four innings. After the Indians (53-59) failed to score with runners at the corners and one out in the fourth, they were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

Cleveland finally broke through in the fifth, though Sabathia again did well to limit the damage. Roberto Perez and Mike Aviles led off with singles and leadoff man Jose Ramirez, despite hits in his first two at-bats, moved the runners with a sacrifice bunt. Francisco Lindor came through by lining an RBI single to right on a 1-and-0 pitch that made it 1-1. Sabathia got out of it when Chris Johnson grounded into his second double play.

Sabathia could not keep it going. Carlos Santana led off the sixth with a single to right. Jerry Sands followed with a single and Giovanny Urshela's fielder's choice put runners at the corners with one out. Abraham Almonte fell behind 0-and-1 before lining a single to center to bring in Santana to make it 2-1.

Sabathia struck out Roberto Perez looking and Didi Gregorius finished the inning with a rifle shot of a throw from deep in the hole on Mike Aviles' broken-bat grounder.


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