NEW YORK — Sonny Gray has learned to just say yes when he sees Austin Romine behind the plate.
Gray made his second straight strong start and won for the first time in a month, boosting the New York Yankees over the Cleveland Indians 5-2 Saturday for their 14th win in 15 games.
Cleveland Indians center fielder Bradley Zimmer slams into the wall while trying to catch a ball hit deep by New York Yankees' Austin Romine.
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“I trust that guy completely, knowing whatever he puts down, shake your head yes and throw it with conviction,” Gray said.
Shortstop Francisco Lindor’s double error led to a pair of runs in a four-run fifth inning off previously unhittable Trevor Bauer.
New York is in its first 14-1 stretch since 1998 Yankees won 114 games during the regular season and then the first of three straight World Series titles. The Yankees have outscored opponents 91-33 in that span and have won eight straight home games for the first time since 2010.
Gray (2-2) allowed two runs and four hits in six innings with seven strikeouts , working with more poise and polish to Romine, the Yankees’ backup catcher, than he has with All-Star starter Gary Sanchez.
“He had that look in his eye,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said, “like he expected it.”
Gray has a 3.72 ERA in five starts with Romine this year; his ERA is 15.63 ERA in two games with Sanchez.
“It’s the biggest compliment when a guy rolls with you, doesn’t shake much and really likes you when you catch back there,” Romine said. “This is his career. He’s throwing the pitches. It’s his ERA.”
Boone said before the game Romine will catch Gray “certainly for the foreseeable future” even though Boone does not like personal catchers. Reminded that Bob Boone, the manager’s All-Star father, was displaced in Philadelphia when Steve Carlton started because the Phillies ace preferred to pitch to Tim McCarver, Aaron Boone quipped: “He didn’t hit like Gary, though.”
Gray has lowered his ERA from 8.27 to 6.00 in his last three outings.
“I’m a better pitcher than the first four, five starts,” he said. “I think throwing the ball with conviction — I think mindset maybe has something to do with it.”
While Romine doesn’t have Sanchez’s power at the plate, he’s hitting .286. His bases-loaded walk tied the score in the fifth , and he doubled off the center-field wall in the seventh.
“We feel like there’s more in there offensively, and we really have challenged him to be that,” Boone said.
Chad Green struck out four over two perfect innings, and David Robertson finished the five-hitter for his first save.
Making his first start since sparking a Twitter spat by suggesting Houston pitchers may be use pine tar, Bauer (2-3) retired his first 13 batters in order on 45 pitches, then needed 41 pitches to get the final two outs of the fifth. He lasted six innings and gave up two hits, and just two of the four runs off him were earned.
Lindor put the Indians ahead in the fifth with his fourth homer in five games, but he’s made three errors in the past two games.
“Can’t give good offenses like that extra baserunners, free baserunners,” Bauer said. “Can’t give them extra outs.”
Neil Walker and Miguel Andujar walked with one out in the fifth for the Yankees’ first two runners, and rookie Gleyber Torres lined a soft single to center for the Yankees’ first hit — and only hit of the inning, it turned out.
Romine fell behind 1-2 in the count, worked it full, fouled off a pair of pitches, then took inside fastball to force home the tying run.
Ronald Torreyes hit a two-hopper for what appeared to be an easy inning-ending, double-play grounder to Lindor, a Gold Glove winner in 2016. Lindor allowed the ball to bounce out of the pocket of his glove, picked it up and threw past third baseman Jose Ramirez to the screen in front of Cleveland’s dugout as Andujar and Torres scored.
“Both games have been lost because of me. That’s unacceptable,” Lindor said.
Brett Gardner followed with a sacrifice fly to left fielder Michael Brantley, whose throw to third appeared to beat Torreyes before Romine crossed the plate. But the Indians did not ask for a video review. Gardner added an RBI single in the seventh.
“We’re having a tough time getting the slow motion. What happens is it’s blurry, so there’s nothing that we can say is definitive,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “I don’t think it’s just us. There’s been some glitches, and they’re working through it.”
Yonder Alonso had four of the Indians’ 13 strikeouts. New York’s Aaron Judge fanned three times, raising his total to 44 — teammate Giancarlo Stanton leads the majors with 53.
Indians: CF Bradley Zimmer left the game after slamming into the plexiglas on the right-center field wall , trying to prevent Romine’s double. Zimmer crumpled to the field and walked slowly back to the dugout. “He got his left shoulder. He hit pretty hard,” Francona said. “I think he’s OK. He said he’s going to play tomorrow.” ... LHP Andrew Miller (strained left hamstring) threw a bullpen session but won’t be activated Sunday, the first day he is eligible to be reinstated from the DL.
RHP Domingo German (0-1) makes his first big league start Sunday after 12 relief appearances. He takes the slot of LHP Jordan Montgomery, who has a strained pitching elbow. Sunday ends a stretch of games on 18 straight days for the Yankees, who after a day off host Boston in a three-game series starting Tuesday. RHP Mike Clevinger (2-0) starts for the Indians.
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