Kluber goes 8, Miller saves it as Indians beat Yankees 5-2
NEW YORK (AP) Andrew Miller stood slim and tall on the Yankee Stadium mound, snapping off tight sliders as he protected a late lead the same as so many times before.
The only thing out of the ordinary was the uniform he wore.
Corey Kluber put Cleveland's rotation back on track, Miller earned a save against the team that traded him last weekend and the Indians beat the New York Yankees 5-2 on Saturday.
''It's a lot easier just to focus on executing pitches when there's no relationship or anything like that,'' Miller said, sounding relieved. ''This last week's been pretty hectic and, like I said, happy I survived and found a way.''
Mike Napoli, Jason Kipnis and Rajai Davis homered to help the AL Central leaders recover from an early two-run deficit.
Kluber (11-8) fired eight innings of five-hit ball, beating CC Sabathia (6-9) in a matchup of pitchers who won the AL Cy Young Award with Cleveland.
Miller closed with a one-hit ninth for his first save with the Indians. And lo and behold, it came at the expense of his old pals in pinstripes.
''None of it was fun, honestly. It's tough,'' Miller said. ''It's just a huge distraction, honestly.''
The lanky left-hander, acquired Sunday in a blockbuster deal, entered to a warm ovation at Yankee Stadium and promptly gave up Brett Gardner's leadoff single. Jacoby Ellsbury and Mark Teixeira struck out on checked swings before Brian McCann grounded out to end it.
''It kind of took me back to my Boston days of facing that section of the lineup and pitching a lot here,'' Miller said. ''I'm glad I got the job done.''
Miller's previous nine saves this year came with New York.
''It's strange to see him in a different uniform,'' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. ''He was just here.''
With the Indians in dire need of a solid outing after five straight rocky starts, Kluber wobbled early on a muggy, soupy afternoon with a game-time temperature of 84 degrees.
Yankees rookie Gary Sanchez lined an RBI double with two outs in the second and scored on a wild pitch that glanced off the mitt of catcher Roberto Perez.
Kluber settled in from there, though, and struck out the 3-4-5-6 hitters in the third and fourth. The Yankees also ran themselves out of two chances in the middle innings - including an embarrassing blunder by Gardner, who went tearing around second base on Ellsbury's fly to medium right field and was easily doubled off first.
Kluber struck out eight, walked one and threw 100 pitches in improving to 3-0 with a 1.46 ERA in his last five starts.
''He got things back in order,'' Indians manager Terry Francona said.
Cleveland's talented rotation, so effective all season, came in 0-4 with a 15.58 ERA this month. The team was outscored 50-32 overall in losing four of its previous five games.
''I think the bullpen probably needed a little bit of a break, but I didn't put any more pressure on myself than normal because of the last few games,'' Kluber said.
''I don't think the first 100 games or whatever were a fluke,'' he added. ''I don't think we have any doubt that guys are going to be back on track.''
Kipnis connected leading off the fourth for Cleveland's first hit and is batting .478 (11 for 23) with four homers against the Yankees this year. Davis delivered a two-out RBI single in the fifth.
Napoli broke the tie with an opposite-field solo shot off Sabathia in the sixth over the auxiliary scoreboard in right-center. It was Napoli's team-leading 28th homer and sixth in the past eight games. He connected in five straight through Wednesday.
Davis went deep against Anthony Swarzak in the seventh, and Kipnis drove in Davis with a ninth-inning single off Nick Goody.
Sabathia was charged with three runs in 5 2/3 innings, dropping to 1-5 with a 6.62 ERA in his last nine starts.
''His command was a little off today, but he still gave us a pretty good shot to win,'' Girardi said.
Indians: LF Brandon Guyer, acquired Monday from Tampa Bay, made his second start for Cleveland and was hit by a pitch on the left thigh. Guyer has been plunked 24 times this season, most in the majors. ... RHP Joe Colon (shoulder) was set to begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A.
Yankees: 3B Chase Headley was rested in favor of rookie Ronald Torreyes, who started two inning-ending double plays in the first four innings. Headley lined out as a pinch-hitter for Torreyes in the eighth.
Both teams brought up a new reliever before the game. Cleveland recalled TJ House from Triple-A Columbus and optioned fellow lefty Shawn Morimando to its top farm club. New York called up LHP Chasen Shreve from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and sent down RHP Johnny Barbato. Shreve struck out two in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
Indians RHP Carlos Carrasco (7-5, 3.12 ERA) starts the series finale Sunday against RHP Masahiro Tanaka (7-4, 3.46). Carrasco gave up nine hits and a career-high eight runs in 3 2/3 innings Tuesday against Minnesota but is 5-2 with a 1.72 ERA on the road. Tanaka, hit hard Tuesday by the Mets, is 0-2 with a 5.71 ERA in three career starts against Cleveland.