CLEVELAND -- Jacoby Ellsbury launched a key home run to help the Yankees capitalize on an uncharacteristically sloppy day for the American League Central-leading Indians, who made three errors on Sunday afternoon as New York took full advantage in an 11-7 win at Progressive Field to wrap up the first half.
"It's a positive thing. We beat a very good team three out of four games," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "To end up 5-5 on a road trip where it starts off pretty poorly, it's good. Hopefully, we can carry this momentum to after the break."
Thanks in part to some miscues behind him, right-hander Carlos Carrasco lasted only 3 2/3 innings for the Tribe, which dropped three of four in the series. Carrasco allowed five hits and five runs, but only one of the runs was earned.
"It seemed like the ball was going every different direction today, on a day when [Carrasco] probably needed help," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Carlos, it looked like right out of the gate, he was having trouble. He was having trouble finding a good feel for his offspeed."
Ellsbury came through with a three-run blast off Carrasco in the second inning to help set the tone for a big offensive day for the Yankees. New York also piled on six runs in the fifth inning, and Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira, Starlin Castro and Andrew Romine all ended with multihit days.
"We felt like we put good at-bats against those guys," Beltran said. "There is no doubt that Cleveland has a great pitching staff. We were able to score runs against them. To be able to take three out of four really means a lot."
The Indians did manage seven runs (three earned) on 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings against Yankees righty Masahiro Tanaka, who exited after allowing a two-run homer to rookie outfielder Tyler Naquin. That blast came during a six-run showing in the home half of the fifth by Cleveland, which could not complete the comeback bid.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Sunday's six-pack: The two teams traded six-run outbursts in the fifth inning. The Yankees started the flurry of runs on six hits as the Tribe sent four relievers to the mound in the frame. The lone extra-base hit that half-inning came on a double off the left-field wall by shortstop Didi Gregorius. It marked a career-best fifth consecutive game he has recorded an extra-base hit. It is the longest streak by a Yanks shortstop since Derek Jeter did so in five straight games from Aug. 19-24, 2012.
Naquin's ninth: The Tribe rookie took a second to admire the two-run homer (his ninth of the year) in the home half of the fifth. The towering blast capped off a 12-run outpouring by the Yankees and Indians in an inning that lasted 46 minutes and included 21 batters. Naquin's homer came with an exit velocity of 105 mph and soared 422 feet, per Statcast™. All nine of his homers have come since his June 1 recall from Triple-A Columbus.
"It was awesome," Naquin said of Cleveland's six-run rally. "It just shows you the kind of team we are. Down by that many runs, and you answer back with a six-spot after they just did, that shows a lot." More >
Jacoby's jack: In the second inning, Ellsbury began to walk to first after a pitch he believed to be outside. It was instead called a strike, and after brief argument over the call, Ellsbury came back and hammered the next pitch over the right-center-field wall. Per Statcast™, Ellsbury's three-run blast traveled an estimated 396 feet with an exit velocity of 102 mph. It would cap a four-run frame for the Yankees, who jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.
"It's a big at-bat," Ellsbury said. "If I walk, Carlos [Beltran] is up with the bases loaded. That can go either way. Fortunately, I hit a home run. It was a big three runs for us. It ended up working out. I guess I'm happy he made that call." More >
Defensive lapses: Ellsbury might never have stepped to the plate in the second had first baseman Carlos Santana cleanly fielded a throw from shortstop Francisco Lindor on a one-out grounder from Rob Refsnyder. Instead, the Yankees were given an extra out, and they pounced with the four-run inning. A throwing error by Lindor in the fifth also helped New York's cause in that six-run showing. On the day, the teams combined for four errors.
"We kicked some balls around," Francona said. "We made some mistakes, and they took advantage of it."
"It's fun. We've always tried to push in August and September to make that run, to put pressure on people. We're in a little different position right now where we can win some games, step on the gas pedal and stretch it farther. This second half's going to be important for us." -- Indians outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall, on being in first place at the All-Star break
"That inning, the floodgates kind of opened. It seemed like everything that could go wrong did." -- Francona, on the Yankees' six-run fifth
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
This marks the first time that the Indians have entered the All-Star break in first place since 2007, when the club won the Central and fell one win shy of reaching the World Series. Cleveland's 6 1/2-game lead in the division is its largest at the break since 1999.
WHAT'S NEXT Yankees: Right-hander Michael Pineda will get the start Friday at 7:05 p.m. ET in the first game after the All-Star break against Boston. It is the start of a 10-game homestand for the Yankees that features series against a pair of first-place teams (Baltimore and San Francisco). Pineda is 4-4 with a 4.50 ERA in nine career starts against the Red Sox.
Indians:Corey Kluber, Lindor and Danny Salazar (replaced by the White Sox Jose Quintana) are headed to San Diego as first-time All-Stars for Tuesday's Midsummer Classic. After the break, Carrasco will start on normal rest for the Indians in the opener of a three-game series in Minnesota, beginning with an 8:10 p.m. ET tilt against the Twins at Target Field.