CLEVELAND -- This wasn't the way Sonny Gray and the Yankees wanted to start the American League Division Series presented by Doosan.
Gray -- a victim of poor run support frequently during the regular season -- was plagued by command issues and lasted just 3 1/3 innings in New York's 4-0 loss to Cleveland in Game 1 on Thursday night.
"It's tough," said Gray of being outdueled by Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer, who no-hit the Yanks through his first 5 1/3 innings. "You kind of put everyone on our side at a disadvantage. I put us in a hole we weren't able to climb out of."
Gray, tasked to shut down a dangerous Tribe lineup, allowed three runs on three hits -- two by Jay Bruce -- four walks and a hit-by-pitch over his 10 outs. Bruce, who went deep off Gray for a two-run homer in the fourth, also opened the second inning with a double. Gray loaded the bases that inning, surrendering a single to Carlos Santana and plunking Lonnie Chisenhall.
"[I] felt OK. Stuff I thought was good," Gray said. "Obviously when you put that many guys on base, more times than not, it's not going to turn out in your favor."
While Gray was able to wriggle free in the second with only one run allowed -- thanks in large part to Didi Gregorius starting an impressive double play -- he wasn't nearly as lucky in the fourth.
The righty issued a leadoff walk to Edwin Encarnacion before Bruce unloaded on an 0-1 pitch to put the Indians up by three. Gray followed that up with a walk to Santana, prompting a mound meeting, during which the Yankees' bullpen stirred. One out later, Gray's night ended after another walk, this time to Roberto Perez.
"Jay Bruce is the guy that really hurt him tonight," Yanks manager Joe Girardi said. "I didn't think the first pitch [for a double] was necessarily a bad pitch. It was a split that he hit. Had good movement on it. You kind of tip your cap. Even the home run ... it could have been in a little bit more, and I think he gets him out there. But he was the guy that hurt him tonight. Besides that, he pitched pretty well."
The 73-pitch abbreviated outing was particularly tough for a Yankees club that saw starter Luis Severino record just one out in the AL Wild Card Game on Tuesday night. It marks just the second time in the Yanks' impressive postseason history that their starters were unable to complete four innings in their first two games. The other occurrence was the 1956 World Series (Whitey Ford and Don Larsen in Games 1 and 2).
"It's obviously frustrating," Gray said. "But [Bauer] was just a little bit better than me tonight."
Brittany Ghiroli has worked for MLB.com since 2010. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.