CLEVELAND — Triston McKenzie closed the New York lineup over seven great innings in a combined one-hitter and closer Emmanuel Clase survived a harrowing ninth to give the Cleveland Guardians a 2-0 win over the Yankees on Sunday.
Franmil Reyes drove in both Cleveland runs — homering in the fourth and hitting an RBI single in the eighth — as the Guardians saved the series finale.
McKenzie (5-6) allowed Josh Donaldson only a broken-bat single in the fourth. The righthander, who has been hurt this season by giving up homeruns, kept the ball in the park and the Yankees off balance.
Eli Morgan worked a 1-2-3 in the eighth before giving way to Clase, the AL’s top reliever in June. The Yankees loaded the bases with two outs on two walks – one for a pinch-hitting Aaron Judge – before Clase brought Aaron Hicks into second place for the last out and his 19th save in 21 chances.
Hicks dropped to .138 (8 for 58) in his basesloaded career.
The Yankees lost for just the sixth time in 32 games since May 31.
New York won the first two games of the series and swept a doubleheader on Saturday with a combined 19-5. Baseball’s best team looked poised to win the entire three-game set and six-game season against Cleveland.
But McKenzie, who had given up multiple homeruns in six of his previous eight games, got through with a great start. He ran only once and struckout seven. It also helped the Yankees put Judge and DJ LeMahieu to rest.
Reyes homered in the fourth inning against Jordan Montgomery (3-2), who threw well but got no support, an unusual event for a Yankees team that won in record time.
Reyes again came through in the eighth by hitting a single to the right to score Amed Rosario after the Guardians nearly saved themselves from a threat.
The Yankees hit the 80-game mark at 58-22, the third-best start in as many games since 1930.
Reyes, who recently returned after missing 23 games with a strained hamstring, put the Guardians 1-0 in the fourth with his sixth homer. Reyes turned on a 1-1 curveball and sent it over the wall into left field.
The Yankees didn’t start with Judge, who leads the majors with 29 home runs, but failed to connect during the series in Cleveland. Earlier this week, Judge joined Babe Ruth (32), Roger Maris (30) and Mickey Mantle (29) as the only players to homer 29 times in the team’s first 76 games.
Guardians star third baseman Jose Ramirez also got a day off. He suffered a sore thumb ligament and went 1 for 7 on Saturday with four strikeouts.
TO MOVE HOUSE
The Yankees traded left-handed Manny Banuelos to Pittsburgh in exchange for cash. Banuelos played in four games for New York and got one save. He has also been with the Braves and White Sox.
The Guardians claimed outfielder Oscar Mercado from Philadelphia waivers during the game. Mercado was reassigned by Cleveland on June 21 and claimed by the Phillies six days later. He had one at bat before being designated on July 1.
Yankees: RHP Domingo German (shoulder impingement) was set to make his third rehab start at Double-A Somerset on Sunday, as he works towards an expected return later this month. … Boone got good reports on RHP Jonathan Loaisiga (shoulder inflammation) after he did a batting training in Tampa, Florida. Loaisiga has another session on Tuesday.
Guardians: C Austin Hedges (concussion) remains offside. He took batting practice between games on Saturday, but was not allowed to return yet.
Yankees: A day off in Pittsburgh before opening a three-game run on Tuesday with RHP James Taillon (9-1, 3.32 ERA) vs. LHP Jose Quintana.
Guardians: Play another doubleheader, their seventh, and this one in Detroit. Zach Plesac (2-5, 3.86) starts the opener against rookie Garret Hill to make his major league debut. LHP Konnor Pilkington (1-1, 4.31) starts the second game against RHP Alex Faedo (1-4, 4.84).