Marathon loss extends Yanks’ losing streak

All things considered, the Yankees might have been better off just getting shut out for the third straight time rather than playing past midnight in a 5-hour, 4-minute marathon and emptying their bullpen only to lose in 16 innings, 5-4, to the Indians.

It was a grueling way to start a trip, even if the game did come after an off day, the Yankees’ last until Aug. 27. Indians relief pitchers retired the Yankees’ last 14 batters in order and came away with the victory on successive singles by Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley off Brandon Pinder, the Yankees’ eighth pitcher of the night. The Yanks’ fourth straight loss reduced their lead in the American League East to a mere half-game over Toronto, although they still have a two-game spread in the loss column.

Of all the pitchers for the Yankees to run into at a time when they have had trouble scoring was Carlos Carrasco, who had pitched nine innings in each of his previous two starts and allowed only one run overall.

The zeroes continued to pile up for the Yankees, who ran their scoreless streak to 31 innings before Stephen Drew led off the sixth with his 14th home run to cut the Indians’ lead to 2-1. Two innings later, another leadoff homer by Carlos Beltran (No. 10) tied the game against Carrasco.

It was far from an offensive outburst, but the Yankees at least did not roll over in a whimper as they did against the Blue Jays over the past weekend at Yankee Stadium. Back in Toronto, the Jays extended their winning streak to nine games, so the Yanks could ill afford another weak offensive effort.

Another embarrassing streak for the Yankees was that prior to the 10th inning Tuesday night they had not had a hit with a runner in scoring position in 21 at-bats over six games, their longest such drought in 48 years.

So how satisfying was it for the Yankees to watch Chase Headley line a 3-2 fastball from righthander Bryan Shaw to right field for a two-out, bases-loaded single? Very.

Actually, Didi Gregorius ended the Yankees’ 0-fer with runners in scoring position two batters before Headley with a single that filled the bases. Drew grounded into the second out of the inning at the plate before Headley came through in the clutch. Headley did not start the game because of general soreness in his legs, a sign of August in the major leagues.

His hit appeared to be a game winner since the Yankees had Andrew Miller closing it out. Except for the first time this season the lefthander blew a save opportunity, his 25th. An infield hit by Lindor, a double by Brantley, a sacrifice fly by Carlos Santana and a bloop, RBI single by Van Gomes formed the Tribe’s comeback.

Yankees rookie righthander Luis Severino provided another encouraging outing. After a shaky beginning in which he gave up two runs over the first two innings, Severino held the Indians to two hits and one walk after that through the sixth and kept the Yankees in the game. In his second major-league start, Severino showed no signs of being overwhelmed.

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