Brett Gardner and Ronald Torreyes made sensational defensive plays in the ninth inning to save Aroldis Chapman from another late-inning meltdown in Progressive Field.
The New York Yankees hung on to beat the Cleveland Indians 2-1 on Saturday night and stop a four-game losing streak.
Chapman (4-2), making his first appearance in Cleveland since Game 7 of last year’s World Series for the Chicago Cubs, allowed a leadoff single in the ninth before Jose Ramirez hit a fly to deep left that Gardner grabbed with a jump on the warning track. Edwin Encarnacion then hit a blooper toward right that Torreyes ran down with a dive.
Chapman went to a full count on Carlos Santana before striking him out with his 21st pitch of the inning for his 14th save.
The defensive gems were a nice change for the Yankees, who made three errors in the series opener and had another error, passed ball and two wild pitches on Friday.
Chase Headley homered with one out in the eighth inning off Zach McAllister (1-1) for the Yankees, who have been anything but Bronx Bombers lately.
Headley pulled a 0-1 curveball and his sixth homer barely cleared the wall in right. With top reliever Andrew Miller on the disabled list, Indians manager Terry Francona has limited late-game options and decided to go with McAllister, who allowed his first run in 11 1/3 innings.
The Yankees have scored just eight runs in the past five games and they managed only four hits through seven innings against Indians starter Danny Salazar, who struck out a career-high 12.
Daniel Robertson (5-2) pitched two scoreless innings and Dellin Betances worked the eighth before giving way to the fire-balling Chapman.
Santana homered for the Indians, who had their nine-game home winning streak stopped.
How about that 9th inning defense?!
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) August 6, 2017
For seven innings, Salazar mostly dominated the Yankees, who managed just one run. It was the right-hander’s third strong start since returning from the disabled list last month.
Yankees rookie starter Jordan Montgomery was nearly as good. For five innings, he held the Indians to one run and three hits, but New York manager Joe Girardi lifted the left-hander to start the sixth and the Indians immediately threatened off Robertson.
Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley singled, but Robertson retired Ramirez on a fly to right and struck out Encarnacion to keep it tied 1-all.
Salazar, who wriggled his way out of trouble in the first, got stronger as the game wore on. He threw a 98 mph fastball on his 110th pitch and struck out the side in the seventh inning to put an exclamation point on an outing that can only boost his confidence. Over his last three starts, Salazar has a 1.35 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 28 innings.
In the second, Santana hit his 16th homer, a rocket to left that clanged off the railing above the 19-foot-high wall and bounced back onto the field.
Yankees: DH Matt Holliday could be headed to the disabled list with a sore lower back. Holliday tweaked his back while swinging during Friday’s game and was kept out of the lineup. Holliday, who has had previous back issues, is batting just .136 (11 for 81) with one homer and four RBIs since the All-Star break.
Indians: 2B Jason Kipnis will come off the disabled list Sunday and is expected to start the series finale. He’s been out since before the All-Star break with a strained right hamstring. Kipnis has been playing in minor league games the past week.
Indians RHP Carlos Carrasco didn’t get out of the second inning in his previous start against Boston. He’s 4-4 against the Yankees, who will start Luis Severino, who is 3-0 in his last five starts with a 1.36 ERA and 39 strikeouts.
All the scores from Saturday’s MLB action:
Chicago Cubs 7-4 Washington Nationals
New York Mets 4-7 Los Angeles Dodgers
Tampa Bay Rays 0-3 Milwaukee Brewers
Pittsburgh Pirates 2-5 San Diego Padres
Baltimore Orioles 5-2 Detroit Tigers
Atlanta Braves 7-2 Miami Marlins
Cincinnati Reds 1-4 St Louis Cardinals
Houston Astros 3-4 Toronto Blue Jays
Minnesota Twins 1-4 Texas Rangers
Cleveland Indians 1-2 New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox 4-1 Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals – Seattle Mariners (Postponed)
Colorado Rockies 8-5 Philadelphia Phillies
San Francisco Giants 5-4 Arizona Diamondbacks
Los Angeles Angels 0-5 Oakland Athletics