NEW YORK -- Carlos Carrasco torched the Yankees with a dominant performance, giving up five hits and one run in 6 2/3 innings Friday as the Indians beat the Yankees, 7-3, at Yankee Stadium. Carrasco struck out 11, throwing 81 of his 108 pitches for strikes.
"He just continues to pound strikes," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He's holding his stuff so well -- I would say probably more than holding -- and I think as he's starting to get to know himself and the league and how to pitch, I'll tell you what, he's done a pretty good job."
Carrasco's performance laid the groundwork for the bullpen, which was able to hold off an eighth-inning rally by the Yankees, who pulled within one run by the ninth. But the Indians added three more runs in the final frame off of Justin Wilson to put the game out of reach. With the Blue Jays' win, the Yankees' American League East lead was trimmed to a half-game.
Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka pitched six-plus innings, charged with three earned runs and seven hits to pick up his sixth loss of the season.
"I think it was pretty obvious, but innings where I was able to go strike one, strike two, I think I was in a better tempo, good rhythm to get quick outs," Tanaka said. "When I was going ball one, ball two, obviously runners got on base and it led to them scoring. Obviously I was sort of out of rhythm in those innings."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Yanks' late push:Brett Gardner, Chase Headley and Alex Rodriguez opened the eighth inning with three straight hits -- the last in the sequence scoring a run to cut Cleveland's lead to two.
Later in the inning, with two outs, a grounder from Greg Bird skipped through the legs of second baseman Jose Ramirez for a costly run-scoring error, trimming the Indians' lead to 4-3. Closer Cody Allen entered, though, and eventually ended the rally with a flyout from Stephen Drew.
"Jose makes an uncharacteristic error," Francona said, "and, fortunately, we get out of that inning and we give ourselves some breathing room." More >
Ryan's error: In the fifth inning, Indians rookie Francisco Lindor reached first base when the Yanks' shortstop, who seemed to have control of his chopper, dropped it upon trying to make the throw to first. Abraham Almonte made his way home from third for the go-ahead run.
"I'm not really sure [what happened]," Ryan said. "Looked into my glove and it wasn't there. So I really didn't want to look at [the video], was too upset. Not really sure what to say. Probably the easiest play you could possibly have and it cost us a run."
Tanaka backed his shortstop.
"Errors are obviously part of the game," he said. "They've been playing defense all throughout the season, and plus, if I had been throwing the ball better, that maybe would not have happened, so it's part of the game.
Santana's shot: After falling behind in the count, 3-0, against Santana, Tanaka went to his four-seam fastball three times in a row. Santana watched the first for strike one and then fouled off the second to pull the count full. The third in the sequence flew in at 95 mph and rocketed off Santana's bat at 109 mph. It sailed three rows deep into the right-field stands for the first baseman's 14th home run of the season.
Crockett vs. Gregorius: Carrasco registered back-to-back strikeouts to open the seventh, but then surrendered consecutive singles to Jacoby Ellsbury and Drew. With the starter's pitch count up to 108, Cleveland turned to lefty Kyle Crockett to face pinch-hitter Didi Gregorius. Three pitches later, Crockett had a critical inning-ending strikeout for the Tribe.
"[Carrasco] pitched really well for us," Crockett said, "so I was glad to get him out of there without any runs tacked onto his ERA, and just to keep the team there. I feel like this Yankee team, they kind of get things going and they hit a stride if you let them. It was good to shut them down right there." More >
"They've pitched extremely well, we have one game that we gave back to them. They've given us trouble. The one thing about baseball I've said is it doesn't always make sense, but they've pitched extremely well against us, and we haven't scored a lot of runs." -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi, on losing to the last-place team in the American League Central.
"He had really good stuff. He had really good stuff. He wasn't really missing spots. I don't really know. His slider was nasty, he was spotting his fastball and he's got a splitter or a changeup, whatever that thing is. He was just working in and out, and he would expand on the slider, throw it for strikes ... he was tough." -- Ryan, on Carrasco. More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• With 11 strikeouts, Carrasco became the first Indians pitcher to have at least that many punchouts in an outing at Yankee Stadium since Sept. 18, 2000. In that game 15 years ago, Bartolo Colon struck out 13 for Cleveland in a one-hit shutout at the old Stadium.
• The Indians have won the season series against the Yankees for the second straight year, marking the first time since 1968-69 that Cleveland has had back-to-back winning seasons against New York.
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: While Corey Kluber and Carrasco garner most of the attention, right-hander Danny Salazar (11-6, 3.16 ERA) has been one of the top pitchers in the AL of late. Over his past seven turns, the hard-throwing righty has turned in a tidy 1.45 ERA to go along with 48 strikeouts and a .147 opponents' average in 49 2/3 innings. Salazar will take the ball in Saturday's 1:05 p.m. ET clash against the Yankees. More >
Yankees: The Yanks will send Luis Severino to the mound for his fourth big league start. Severino is still winless, but Girardi said the Yankees have been extremely pleased with his poise, and that he gets better with each outing. This will be the first time Severino faces a team for the second time. New York will also retire Jorge Posada's No. 20 during a pregame ceremony. More >
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. Grace Raynor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.