Miller blows 1st save since joining Yankees

Closer had been successful in 24 prior opportunities this season

Miller blows 1st save since joining Yankees

CLEVELAND -- The Yankees never expected Andrew Miller to be perfect as he experienced his first year as a big league closer, but they sure wish that he could have kept that streak alive a little bit longer.

Miller blew his first save in 25 chances on Tuesday, coughing up a two-run lead in the 10th inning and watching from the clubhouse as the Yankees fell to the Indians, 5-4, in 16 innings at Progressive Field. The loss trimmed the Yanks' lead in the American League East to a half-game over the Blue Jays.

"There's never a good time for it, but this was an exceptionally bad time for it," Miller said. "At the same time, it's a long season for a reason. It's pretty frustrating. It couldn't happen at a worse time to go out there and give one up."

New York had taken a 4-2 lead in the top of the 10th on pinch-hitter Chase Headley's two-run single off Bryan Shaw, setting up Miller for what they hoped would snap their three-game skid.

"We're not going to put it on Andrew -- Andrew's been lights-out all season," Mark Teixeira said. "You're bound to lose one every now and then, and it's just one of those nights."

Miller's troubles began instantly. Francisco Lindor legged out an infield single on a chopper to the right side of the infield and Michael Brantley followed by whacking a breaking ball for a well-struck double to left field.

"Obviously you feel good every time Andrew comes in," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "You think about the hits he gave up, he kind of gave up a squibber to first, and then he gave up a jam shot that cost us. I thought he threw the ball all right; just kind of bad luck."

Carlos Santana lifted a sacrifice fly and Yan Gomes tied the game with a single to right field.

Santana's sacrifice fly

"In a sense, you create your own luck," Miller said. "The leadoff infield single stinks, but I had my chances. They hit some really good pitches at the same time. I can be frustrated tonight because it stinks. I put us in a terrible situation. I had a chance to close out the game and I didn't do it.

"Brantley hit the pitch I wanted to throw; in hindsight, the wrong pitch. Gomes got a hit on exactly what I wanted to throw, he just hit it the perfect amount that it just kind of fell in there. It stinks. I'm frustrated and I feel bad. I let us down. We had the game won and I screwed it up. I'll be ready to go tomorrow."

Miller's string of 24 straight converted saves was the third-longest to begin a career with a new team. Brad Lidge converted his first 44 chances for the Phillies in 2008-09 and Willie Hernandez locked down his first 34 for the Tigers in 1984.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.