With Vidal Nuno shipped off to Arizona and Brandon McCarthy still on his way to meeting the team in Cleveland, the Yankees turned to right-hander Shane Greene on Monday night after recalling him from Triple-A before the game to make his first big league start. Greene was quite impressive in his third stint in the majors this season, tossing six innings of two-run ball to help the Yankees down the Indians, 5-3, in the opening of a four-game series this week at Progressive Field.
After jumping out to a 9-0 lead over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday, the Yankees, again, wasted no time putting runs on the board against Indians starter Justin Masterson, who didn't last very long in this one.
Brian McCann and Brian Roberts opened the 2nd inning with back-to-back doubles to put the Yankees up 1-0. Ichiro Suzuki, who had three hits on the night, singled to left -- Roberts rounded third base to come home, but slipped trying to stop; the cut-off throw, though, was thrown to second base, where Ichiro was tagged out in a rundown for the first out of the inning. Masterson walked Kelly Johnson and hit Francisco Cervelli to load the bases. After Brett Gardner singled home Roberts to make it a 2-0 game, Derek Jeter walked with the bases loaded to force in the third run of the inning.
Masterson was lucky enough to get out of the inning without allowing another run when Jacoby Ellsbury hit a hard groundball down the first base line that, Carlos Santana dove to make the stop while tagging first base then throwing to the plate to nail Cervelli for the final out.
But Masterson didn't get to last much longer. He walked Mark Teixeira to open the 3rd, then McCann singled to put runners on first and second base with nobody out. Terry Francona decided that he had seen enough, pulling Masterson from the game after two-plus inning, eventually being charged with five runs on six hits, with three walks and a strikeout.
Kyle Crockett entered for the Indians, gave up an infield single to Ichiro that scored Teixeira, which made it a 4-0 game. He balked to move both runners up 90 feet, then hit Johnson to load the bases. The Yankees, at least, got a run with the bases loaded this time, grounded into a fielder's choice at second base to score a run and keep the inning alive. However, Gardner struck out a batter late -- Gardner, by the way, went 3-for-4 and raised his batting average to .289 on the year.
Crockett wasn't charged for the two runs, and the Indians' bullpen gave up none at all, getting through the final six innings after the 3rd without giving up a run. The Yankees came out firing away in the first couple of inning, but couldn't really do anything after Masterson was removed. At least it was enough runs to get the job done.
It was also enough for Greene, who recorded a quality start in his first big league start. He looked good in six innings of work, giving up just two runs on four hits, while striking out two without a walk. His stuff was moving well early in the game, and I think that he may have earned himself another starter if the Yankees were planning to give him one.
Greene had a no-hitter going through 4.2 innings. The first hit of the game was also the same hit that broke up the shutout -- a solo homerun off the bat of Nick Swisher, deep into the left field seats to put Cleveland on the board, making it a 5-1 game.
Cleveland made the game a little bit closer against Greene on the 6th, scoring their secodn run against him on an Asdrubal Cabrera single that scored Chris Dickerson, who singled with one out and moved to second base on a Jason Kipnis groundout. Two batters later, with runners on 1st and 2nd, Greene got Santana to fly out to right field to end the inning.
David Huff took over on the mound for the Yankees to start the 7th. He worked a scoreless inning, then Yan Gomes opened the 8th with a solo homerun that pulled the Indians within two runs. Huff then hit Mike Aviles, forcing Joe Girardi to bring in his All-Star reliever, Dellin Betances, who was pitching for the first time since Friday. Betances set down six of the seven hitters he face -- only one strikeout -- to pick the six-out save, the first save of his big league career, while sealing Greene's first major league victory.
The Yankees and Indians will continue this series tomorrow on Tanaka Tuesday, as Masahiro Tanaka will go for his 13th win of the season, matching up against right-hander Trevor Bauer at 7:05 pm ET.
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