The Yankees took a 3-0 lead over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night. Sometime around the 6th inning, Brian Cashman held a conference call with reporters to announce that Masahiro Tanaka has been diagnosed with a partial tear of his UCL. That's when things started go south for the Bombers.
The Indians put up four runs in the 7th inning against David Phelps and Matt Thornton to take a one-run lead, and nine runs unanswered in all, as they would defeat the Yankees, 9-3, in the final game of a four-game series at Progressive Field.
Zelous Wheeler put the Yankees on the board in the top of 4th inning with a solo homerun to left field, just curving it around the foul pole for a two-run shot that gave the Yanks a 2-0 lead. The homerun -- Wheeler's second since being called up last week -- brought in Francisco Cervelli, who hit a one-out single to reach base.
Cervelli would scored the Yankees' third run of the night an inning later, making it a 3-0 game. TJ House, who was lifted after giving up three runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings, hit Cervelli on the right knee with a wild slider, putting him on first base with two outs. Wheeler singled to keep the two-out rally going, putting runners on first and second base, then Yangervis Solarte, who was called up from Triple-A before the game after the Yankees put Carlos Beltran on the 7-day concussion DL, brought back the Solarte Party with an RBI single to left field.
Phelps was doing a great job of protecting the Yankees' lead and keeping them in the game for most of the night. He gave up a hit in each of the first five innings, but nothing more then that. The worst inning of Phelps' night was the one that ended it, when he Chris Dickerson and Roberto Perez opened the 7th inning with back-to-back singles. Joe Girardi decided that was enough, taking the ball from Phelps and giving it to Matt Thornton.
Phelps lasted six-plus innings, he was charged with two runs on seven hits, with three walks and five strikeouts. Phelps has been pitching a lot better over the past couple of weeks, and it was a shame that he couldn't get the win for this outing tonight.
Jason Kipnis reached on an infield single against Thornton to load the bases, then a batter later, Asdrubal Cabrera hit a bases-clearing triple to tie the game at 3-3. Michael Brantley followed with a sac-fly to center field that scored Cabrera, putting the Indians up 4-3. It only got worse from there.
That was the end of Thornton's night. I though he would be a decent arm in the bullpen this season, replacing Boone Logan as the team's LOOGY, but that's hasn't been the case.
Jim Miller took over on the mound with just one out in the 7th, and guess what, he's not a very good pitcher. He worked the final two outs of the inning, but then the Indians blew the game open against him in the 8th, scoring five runs on five hits. Perez hit a two-run homerun that was ruled a homerun after video replay showed it hitting off of the top of the left field wall, making it a 6-3 game. A couple batters later, Brantley singled him Kipnis to extend the lead to 7-3. The Carlos Santana followed with a towering two-run homerun to deliver the final dagger, pushing the lead up to 9-3.
As you would expect, the Yankees went down quietly in the 9th to end the game.
They'll now fly out to Baltimore for a three-game series against the Orioles that'll take them into the All-Star break, which could not come soon enough. Hiroki Kuroda -- the only Yankees starter from the Opening Day rotation not on the DL right now -- and Miguel Gonzalez will be the pitching matchup for the 7:05 pm ET start.