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Guyer at center of Indians' highs, lows vs. NY

MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- When Terry Francona put Brandon Guyer fifth in the Indians lineup Saturday against left-hander CC Sabathia, the move made sense from an offensive mindset.

Though Guyer entered the game 2-for-26 all-time against the starter, the right-handed-hitting outfielder had an .854 OPS against lefties and delivered a game-tying, two-run single in the sixth inning to take Sabathia out of the game. Guyer, however, was charged with a key error in the seventh inning, allowing the Yankees to take the lead and sealing a 5-4 win against the Tribe at Progressive Field.

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CLEVELAND -- When Terry Francona put Brandon Guyer fifth in the Indians lineup Saturday against left-hander CC Sabathia, the move made sense from an offensive mindset.

Though Guyer entered the game 2-for-26 all-time against the starter, the right-handed-hitting outfielder had an .854 OPS against lefties and delivered a game-tying, two-run single in the sixth inning to take Sabathia out of the game. Guyer, however, was charged with a key error in the seventh inning, allowing the Yankees to take the lead and sealing a 5-4 win against the Tribe at Progressive Field.

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The mishap happened after Austin Romine doubled off the right-center-field wall to Guyer, who bobbled the ball while trying to pick it up. Guyer fired it in to rookie second baseman Erik Gonzalez -- the cutoff man -- to try to get Romine advancing to third. Gonzalez airmailed the relay to third baseman Jose Ramirez toward the third-base dugout where it bounced out of play, allowing Romine to score and give the Yankees the lead.

Video: NYY@CLE: Romine scores on a double after 2 errors

"Guyer reached for it with his glove instead of either picking it up or corralling it with two hands, so that gave [Romine] a chance to go to third," manager Terry Francona said. "And then the throw was on the side of the base where Romine was sliding and it looked like Josey did everything he could to get to it."

Romine was the final hitter Mike Clevinger (7-5) faced before heading to the showers after six-plus innings. The right-hander surrendered all five runs (four earned) on seven hits while striking out eight. Sabathia, a former first-round Draft pick of the Indians, was charged with four runs on four hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Video: NYY@CLE: Clevinger strikes out Hicks, side in the 3rd

Clevinger backed up Ramirez on Gonzalez's relay to get Romine. As the ball bounced out of fair territory, Clevinger admitted to a sinking feeling in his gut.

"It's like chasing butterflies," Clevinger said. "Baseball is weird."

Clevinger walked Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge to start the game, setting the table for Didi Gregorius' 17th homer of the season and a 3-0 Yankees lead. Clevinger left a 1-0 changup up in the zone for New York's shortstop, who sent the offering to the seats in straightaway center.

Video: NYY@CLE: Gregorius opens the scoring with 3-run homer

Clevinger used 25 pitches to get out of the first inning, but escaped the second with 11 before striking out the side in the third.

"He might have been a little overamped but once he settled in, he was really good," Francona said. "They've got a lot of good hitters there. They keep coming at you. They give you no deep breaths anywhere and if you do, you're going to get nicked up."

Gonzalez helped the Tribe manufacture a run in the third inning to make it 3-2, sending a single to left to lead off the attack. He also stole second before advancing to third on a groundout by Francisco Lindor and scoring on a groundout by Michael Brantley.

Video: NYY@CLE: Brantley plates Gonzalez with a groundout

Clevinger's only other blemish came in the sixth, giving up a two-out solo shot to Greg Bird for the first baseman's eighth homer of the season. All four earned runs allowed by Clevinger came via the long ball. The 27-year-old Clevinger entered Saturday with 0.62 home runs allowed per nine innings -- the fifth-best among Major League pitchers and second-best in the American League behind teammate Trevor Bauer (0.35 HR/9).

Video: NYY@CLE: Bird launches a solo homer to right-center

"Stuff is going to hit the fan every once in a while and it's just how you respond," Clevinger said. "Earlier this year I kind of responded poorly to that happening and it resulted in more runs. Just remind myself I can lock it back in."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Tribe got on the board in the first after the switch-hitting Ramirez smacked a solo shot for his 29th homer of the year, tying a career high (set last season) and tying the Red Sox's J.D. Martinez for the Major League lead. It was Ramirez's fourth homer from the right side of the plate.

Ramirez's home run also tied the record for the most hit in the first half by a switch-hitter, joining Mickey Mantle, who did it in 1956 and 1961, and Lance Berkman, who did it in 2002. Ramirez leads baseball with 57 first-half extra-base hits, one away from the franchise record set by Albert Belle in 1994.

Video: NYY@CLE: Ramirez belts his 29th homer of the season

The first-inning knock gave Ramirez 100 extra-base hits over his last 162 regular-season games and was his fifth home run in the last five days. Ramirez entered Saturday with a 1.023 OPS, the fourth-best in the American League behind the Red Sox's Mookie Betts (1.142), the Angels' Mike Trout (1.069) and Martinez (1.035).

Ramirez finished 1-for-3, bringing his average up to .299. Since July 1, Ramirez is batting .346 with six doubles, a triple, 17 RBIs and a 1.202 OPS. Francona said it's been an impressive stretch for the two-time All-Star, and he's excited to see a breakout season.

I'm looking forward to August," Francona quipped. "It doesn't matter what month it is, he's just a great player and getting better."

UP NEXT
All-Star Trevor Bauer (8-6, 2.23 ERA) will seek a series split in the Tribe's last game prior to the Midsummer Classic. The right-hander threw eight shutout innings Tuesday and held the Reds to three hits. The Yankees will counter with Masahiro Tanaka (7-2, 4.68). First pitch at Progressive Field is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. ET.

Casey Harrison is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.

Cleveland Indians, Mike Clevinger, Brandon Guyer, Jose Ramirez