NEW YORK -- Francisco Lindor homered in the eighth inning off Dellin Betances to lift the Indians to a 4-3 victory over the Yankees on Sunday at Yankee Stadium. Battling from behind, the Yanks had tied the game in the seventh. The Indians leave New York having taken three of the four-game set, and the Yankees fell a half-game behind the Blue Jays in the American League East after Toronto's 12-5 victory over the Angels.
"He's a good hitter," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Lindor. "Especially against that guy, [when] lefties' OPS was like .330 or something absurd. He has bat speed from both sides of the plate and he doesn't stop playing. That was obviously a huge lift for us."
Entering Sunday's game, Betances held left-handed batters to a .342 OPS with no home runs.
"Every once in a while, it's going to happen. We're so used to seeing him be so good that we're always shocked when things just don't go boom, boom, boom," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "And today, it didn't. He got the 3-2 count and he left the fastball up and Lindor jumped on it."
Carlos Santana drove a two-run homer to left-center field, scoring Mike Aviles, to put the Tribe ahead quickly in the first. In the third, a throwing error by catcher Yan Gomes allowed Jacoby Ellsbury to score to make it 2-1. The Indians added another run in the fifth when Abraham Almonte worked an RBI walk, and they kept the 3-1 lead until the seventh. The Yanks tied it when Carlos Beltran sent a ground-rule double to left field that drove in Ellsbury and Stephen Drew. The Yankees didn't have an answer for Lindor's homer.
CC Sabathia exited with right knee pain after 2 2/3 innings, allowing four hits, two earned runs and four walks. Trevor Bauer threw 6 1/3 innings of two-hit, two-run ball. He struck out seven and walked six, but limited the damage along the way. To seal the win, Indians closer Cody Allen turned in a four-out save (his 26th save of the year).
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED The right stuff: Santana's homer to the visitors' bullpen got the Indians on the board in the first. It marked his team-leading 15th home run of the season, but his first as a right-handed batter. The switch-hitting first baseman opened the season with 142 at-bats from the right side without a blast.
"That jumped off his bat," Francona said. "It's been kind of surprising, because that swing is in there, but we just haven't seen it much. Usually when this happens, he tends to get hot. Boy, that would be great."
Sabathia exits: Following a strikeout of Gomes in the third inning, Sabathia was in obvious discomfort on the mound. The big left-hander was quickly met by a team trainer and was lifted from the game after only 55 pitches. The Yankees announced that Sabathia sustained a right knee injury and was being taken for an MRI. Sabathia has had issues with his right knee before, having it drained twice already this season. Though it wasn't the same type of pain Sabathia had felt when it needed to be drained, Girardi still acknowledged the lefty's history with the knee.
"It's something that we've been watching all year long and reared its ugly head today," Girardi said. "I think he felt it warming up and didn't say anything. I was watching during the course of the game, and he usually doesn't walk people. That was kind of what tipped us off that maybe something was bothering him." More >
Walk this way: Reliever Branden Pinder took over for the Yankees with two outs and runners on first and second in the fifth, and he proceeded to issue back-to-back walks before escaping the inning. Almonte's bases-loaded free pass pushed Cleveland ahead, 3-1. The Indians have more walks (16) than hits (14) with the bags full this year.
"Well, I think there were a lot of walks on both sides. For whatever reason, I don't know," Girardi said. "We've been pretty good all year long with that. CC, I think for him, it was probably the situation he was dealing with. And you've got some young kids out there as well [who] are pitching. But that's not really concerning. If it happened for weeks and weeks, then I'd be concerned."
Lindor vs. Betances: Betances has been one of baseball's premier strikeout artists this season, but he found a formidable foe in Lindor in the eighth. Betances used three heaters to work ahead, 1-2, on the rookie shortstop, who then watched two knuckle-curves go by to reach a full count. Betances returned to his fastball, but Lindor crushed the 97-mph pitch into the right-field stands for the game's go-ahead shot.
"I was trying to get a good pitch to hit," Lindor said. "He threw the [breaking balls] and I saw the spin, so I laid off them. That's why I laid off them. It wasn't because they were bad pitches or anything -- they were actually really good pitches. I saw the spin on the ball and took it. Then, after that, [I got] the fastball." More >
"I was happy to throw some innings and limit the runs and keep the team in the game. It definitely is a good feeling to do that." -- Bauer, who had an 11.91 ERA in his previous three starts
"He walked six, but he kept them off the scoreboard for the most part. He didn't give up a lot of hits and he competed really well. A lot of days, six walks will hurt you, but it didn't. And I thought he kept his composure, and I thought it was a good step forward for him. That's what we were looking for." -- Francona, on Bauer
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS Brett Gardner tallied his 200th career stolen base on Sunday, becoming one of just six Yankees to reach the milestone. Gardner swiped second in the third inning with Brian McCann at the plate. It was his 18th stolen base of the season and allowed Ellsbury to score when Gomes made an errant throw to second trying to catch Gardner. The other Yankees to have 200 stolen bases are Derek Jeter (358), Rickey Henderson (326), Willie Randolph (251), Hal Chase (249) and Roy White (232).
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: The Tribe heads to Chicago on Monday for a makeup of a June 15 rainout at Wrigley Field. Taking on the Cubs in the 2:05 p.m. ET tilt will be reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber (8-13, 3.52 ERA), who is coming off a rough outing in Boston. The right-hander yielded six runs on six hits, including a career-high four homers, in six innings. Prior to that start, though, Kluber had consecutive complete-game gems for the Indians.
Yankees: The Yankees will send Houston native Nathan Eovaldi (13-2, 4.24 ERA) to the mound Monday at 7:05 p.m. ET to open up a three-game set with the Astros. Eovaldi has just two career starts against the Astros and is 1-0. In his last 11 starts, Eovaldi is 8-0 with a 3.29 ERA. He has the longest winning streak in the American League this year.
Grace Raynor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.