Miller time no fun for Yankees anymore

Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller got into the same game again Saturday. Once that meant good news for the Yankees. Not anymore.

What that meant Saturday at Yankee Stadium was that the Yankees were behind in the ninth inning because Miller is now the closer for the Indians. The 6-foot-7 lefthander, one of the most popular players to come through the Yankees’ clubhouse over the years, faced his former teammates and earned his 10th save in a 5-2 Cleveland victory.

“It was strange to see him in a different uniform,” Yanks manager Joe Girardi said, “but we have seen that before with other players in other years.”

Miller, who was traded by the Yankees to the Indians last Sunday for four prospects, was successful in his return visit to the Stadium. The Yanks were able to keep him out of the first game of the series with a 13-7 victory Friday night, but perhaps the only way Miller would not have gotten into Saturday’s game was if the Tribe had pushed across more runs in the top of the ninth thereby removing the save situation.

Then again, with the Tigers breathing down the Indians’ necks in the American League Central, Tribe manager Terry Francona may have called on Miller anyway as important as this game was for Cleveland.

That the score stayed 5-2 in the top of the ninth was due to Betances, who came into the game to bail out Nick Goody, who allowed a run on a single by Jason Kipnis following a walk and a passed ball by Gary Sanchez. After giving up a single to Francisco Lindor, Betances struck out Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana.

Miller was warmly received by the remains of the Stadium crowd of 37,264, which was nice to see because he was a pivotal part of what success the Yankees had late in games this year and last. He gave up a leadoff single to Brett Gardner but came back to strike out Jacoby Ellsbury and Mark Teixeira and retire Brian McCann on a ground ball to shortstop.

CC Sabathia (6-9) squandered a 2-0 lead the Yankees acquired in the second inning against Corey Kluber (11-8) on an RBI double by Sanchez and a wild pitch. Sabathia gave up solo home runs to Kipnis in the fourth and Napoli in the sixth, both on 3-1 pitches. In between, the Indians tied the score on a two-out, RBI single by Rajai Davis, who in his next at-bat in the seventh drove a 1-0 pitch from Anthony Swarzak for the Tribe’s third solo jack.

The loss dropped the Yankees’ record to .500 (55-55) for the 16th time this season.

On the positive side for the Yanks, one of the minor leaguers obtained in the Miller trade, had an impressive debut for Class A Tampa. Justus Sheffield struck out a career-high 11 batters of the 21 he faced and allowed just two hits in six innings Friday night in a 7-1 victory over Daytona (Reds). The lefthander, 20, threw 58 of 88 pitches for strikes and had only one walk. Shortstop Gleyber Torres, the top prospect acquired from the Cubs in the deal for Aroldis Chapman, hit his first homer in the Yankees organization to support Sheffield.

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