CLEVELAND -- The hits keep coming for Brian McCann. In a 7-6 win in 11 innings over the American League Central-leading Indians on Saturday, the Yankees catcher collected three more hits, including the decisive blow in extra innings at Progressive Field.
"It's really big," Chase Headley said. "That's a really good team over there. That's as good of a team as I have seen this year. To be able to come in here and have a chance to win a series against a really good team, that'd be a huge thing for us."
Over his past 15 games, which include an active 10-game hitting streak, McCann has hit .373 (22-for-59).
"He had a very nice day again today," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's swinging the bat very well, and we need it to continue."
Indians starter Danny Salazar headed into the afternoon with an AL-leading 2.36 ERA, but that mark took a hit in his final outing before heading to his first All-Star Game. Over 5 2/3 innings, the hard-throwing righty was charged with six runs -- three crossing the plate after his exit -- on eight hits, ending with five strikeouts and two walks.
Salazar surrendered three runs in the third, when Didi Gregorius launched a two-run homer. In the sixth, Salazar loaded the bases with two outs before being lifted. Brett Gardner then came through with a three-run triple that pushed Salazar's ERA up to 2.75 on the year.
"His stuff was good," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "I thought he was a little careless."
Both Salazar and Yankees lefty CC Sabathia escaped with no-decisions, though.
Sabathia also worked 5 2/3 innings, in which he gave up five runs on seven hits. Mike Napoli, Carlos Santana and Jose Ramirez each knocked in a run off Sabathia in the third inning. Santana (2-for-5 with two RBIs) and Ramirez (3-for-5 with three RBIs) did the bulk of the damage.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Clear those bases:Alex Rodriguez grabbed a bat for the first time all series as a pinch-hitter in the sixth. He drew a walk to load the bases and chase Salazar out of the game at 112 pitches. Gardner wasted no time taking advantage of the Tribe's 'pen with a bases-clearing triple off Dan Otero. It was his first triple of the season after recording 21 from 2013-15.
"Grinded out an at-bat, a really good at-bat," Girardi said. "I felt like it was a good matchup for him and thought I'd go to him. Sent up Alex because I felt really good about it."
Running into an out: With runners on first and second and no outs in the ninth, Santana chopped a pitch from Miller to the left side. As shortstop Gregorius tried to make a play on the ball, Francisco Lindor ran into Yankees third baseman Chase Headley, who was running toward the grounder as well. Lindor was called out for interference, resulting in a critical out. Miller followed by striking out Ramirez, and Chapman entered and fanned Juan Uribe to end the threat. The closer then finished the game for the Yankees.
"[Third-base umpire] Tom Hallion said that you have to allow the fielder a chance to field it," Francona said. "I was just telling him I didn't think [Headley] was the guy fielding the ball. I went back and looked at it, because I wanted to make sure. I think Frankie was watching Gregorius and then the ball, and then he looked up late and saw the third baseman and hit him hard. I think because there was such severe contact, I think it kind of a leads an umpire into the call." More >
Rajai on the run: With one out and Lindor batting in the first inning, Rajai Davis caught New York by surprise. After a 1-2 pitch, McCann made a slow toss back to Sabathia on the mound. When McCann released the ball, Davis sprinted for third and reached easily for his 23rd stolen base. He later scored on a single by Santana to put Cleveland on the board.
"That was exciting," Francona said. "You can't teach a guy to be fast, but also, he's been doing those types of things all year where he's always ready to move up. That was a nice baseball play for him."
Answering back: After Gregorius' homer capped off a three-run push by New York, Cleveland's offense answered with three of their own in the third to take a 4-3 lead. Similarly, after the Yankees took a 6-5 lead in the sixth inning, the Indians scratched out a run in the seventh against Yankees setup man Dellin Betances. Jason Kipnis opened the seventh with a double and scored on Ramirez's third RBI single of the game.
"I don't think they were going to get anybody out, but they both were [going for the ball]. I talked with the umpire, just trying to find out what was the rule. I messed up. He said the rule protects the fielder. You have to give them the room to catch the ball." -- Lindor, on the interference call in the ninth inning
"We're in no-doubles [defense]. He got overaggressive. There's a reason we're in no-doubles. He's just got to go get it, because they don't score [if he plays it better]. Again, that was another where, we talk about paying attention to detail, we didn't do that sometimes today, and it cost us." -- Francona, on Almonte misplaying McCann's double to right in the 11th inning, allowing Torreyes to score from first
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Gregorius hit his 11th homer of the season and second of the series in his second career start hitting in the five hole. Entering Saturday, the shortstop had been hitting .379 with six homers and 18 RBIs in his past 22 games, dating back to June 14.
WHAT'S NEXT Yankees: Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (6-2, 3.12 ERA) will take the mound in Sunday's series finale at 1:10 p.m. ET. Tanaka threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings in the win over the White Sox his last time out. It was the third time this season he did not allow an earned run. Tanaka is 3-1 with a 4.28 ERA in six starts against the American League Central this season.
Indians: Right-hander Carlos Carrasco (5-2, 2.47 ERA) will take the ball on Sunday in the finale of this four-game set, which will wrap up a strong first half for Cleveland. Over his past four turns, Carrasco has gone 3-0 with a 1.21 ERA, piling up 32 strikeouts against 10 walks in 29 2/3 innings. He held hitters to a .502 OPS in that span.