CLEVELAND (AP) — When he got back to the dugout, Austin Romine was greeted with smiling faces and laughter.
“Why does everyone have fun watching a catcher round the bases?” he said.
Romine chuckled, too.
New York’s backup catcher came all the way around and scored when Cleveland committed two errors on his routine double in the seventh inning, and the New York Yankees edged the Cleveland Indians 5-4 on Saturday night in a game that had several strange plays.
“It was a bit of a wacky game,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone, who was ejected in the sixth.
After the Indians tied it 4-all in the sixth when Jose Ramirez scored from second on an infield single, the Yankees went ahead off Mike Clevinger (7-5) on a play that brought Little League flashbacks back to everyone in the ballpark.
Romine hit a shot in the gap that rolled to the base of the wall in right-center. But as he neared second, Indians right fielder Brandon Guyer bobbled the ball and Romine headed to third. But as he slid into the bag, second baseman Erik Gonzalez’s relay throw from the outfield skipped past Ramirez at third and headed toward Cleveland’s dugout.
Clevinger did his best to corral the wayward throw on the track, but it had too much backspin, hopped out of play and Romine was awarded home.
“It was unknown territory for me to head to third, and it turned out good,” Romine said, smiling. “Crazy hops like that happen when you’re playing hard. I don’t think I’ve ever had one of those. I’m too busy trying to hit real home runs. I don’t think I even had one back in Little League.”
Clevinger said it was frustrating not to be able to get his hands on Gonzalez’s throw.
“It’s like chasing butterflies,” Clevinger said. “Baseball’s weird.”
Didi Gregorius hit a three-run homer and Greg Bird added a solo shot for the Yankees, who moved 30 games over. 500 and kept pace with the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox.
Indians All-Star Ramirez belted his 29th homer, giving the third baseman as many homers as he had all last season — and tying Mickey Mantle’s record for the most by a switch-hitter before the break.
David Robertson (7-3) struck out three, Dellin Bentances worked the eighth and Aroldis Chapman got his 26th save in 27 tries.
There was nice moment in the ninth when Indians catcher Yan Gomes found out he was an All-Star as he stepped in to face Chapman. Although Gomes struck out, he’ll never forget the matchup.
“That was kind of a weird at-bat,” he said. “It was like the happiest strikeout. I had the weirdest feeling walking back. It was kind of weird.”
Ramirez’s hustle allowed the Indians to tie it sixth and chase CC Sabathia, who made his 527th career start.
The left-hander was an out away from escaping a second-and-third situation when Guyer hit a chopper to third that Miguel Andjuar fielded on an awkward hop. As Michael Brantley raced home, Yankees first baseman Bird came off the bag to grab his throw. Meanwhile, Ramirez never slowed when he rounded and scored ahead of Bird’s throw with a head-first slide.
“He’s done that a couple times now,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “The guy has been out at first so we haven’t scored, but that’s incredible. Guyer did a really good job of getting down the line, but Josey, that only works if you’re going right from the jump. And it’s just like, his baseball internal clock is amazing.”
Boone missed all the action. He was ejected in the sixth inning following another interesting play.
Giancarlo Stanton swung and missed a 0-2 pitch that appeared to glance off the slugger’s hand. Boone argued that it should have been a foul ball, and was tossed. By rule, a strike is called even when the ball hits a batter while swinging.
“It looks like they got the call right after I watched it up here (in the clubhouse),” Boone said. “I thought it was a foul ball, so I didn’t think it was a good look, and I’m trying to influence things a little bit out there.”
Sabathia tied Jerry Koosman and soon-to-be Hall of Famer Jack Morris for 36th place on the career starts list.
Indians All-Star RHP Trevor Bauer (8-6, 2.23 ERA) takes on RHP Masahiro Tanaka (7-2, 4.68 ERA) in the series finale. Bauer has made seven straight quality starts with at least eight strikeouts and no home runs allowed, one shy of Pedro Martinez’s record set in 2002. Bauer will only pitch in Tuesday’s All-Star game if it goes to extra innings.
(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)