MLB: Yankees set new errorless record in 5-2 win
CLEVELAND — The midges didn’t affect Joba Chamberlain in his first start in Cleveland — and neither did the Indians’ hitters.
Chamberlain allowed two runs in a career-high eight innings and the New York Yankees set a record for consecutive games without making an error in a 5-2 victory against Cleveland on Monday night.
Chamberlain (3-1) retired the first 11 batters before Victor Martinez’s home run in the fourth. He allowed four hits, walked two and struck out five. He showed great velocity, still hitting 97 mph on the radar gun in the eighth.
“Maybe he’s mad at the midges,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Bugs headlined Chamberlain’s relief appearance in the American League Division Series two years ago, when they swarmed and distracted him while he walked Grady Sizemore and threw two wild pitches that enabled Cleveland to tie — and ultimately win — the game. The Indians went on to eliminate New York in four games.
Monday night was Chamberlain’s first start at Progressive Field, and the bugs resurfaced in the eighth. Just not to the extent of two years ago.
“I started to see them coming, I’ll be honest,” Chamberlain said. “I actually swallowed one when I was walking around the mound to start (the eighth).”
Chamberlain made a dazzling defensive play in the fifth, highlighting a milestone game for the New York’s fielders. The Yankees played error free for the 18th straight game, surpassing Boston’s major league mark of 17 set in 2006. New York’s last error came on May 13 at Toronto when shortstop Ramiro Pena misplayed a ground ball.
With runners on first and second and nobody out, Chamberlain’s diving catch of a popped up bunt by Kelly Shoppach turned into a double play when he stood and threw to second to get Ryan Garko, capping the play with a shout and fist pump. Jamey Carroll was thrown out trying to steal second to end the inning.
“It was quite a belly flop,” Girardi said. “It’s an unbelievable play. It changed the game.”
The Yankees are 14-4 during the errorless streak.
“I’m proud of what they’ve done, I’m proud of what our staff has put in. They work hard all the time, every position they work hard defensively,” Girardi said. “I just want us to make the plays we should make. Don’t give extra baserunners. If you do that, it’s going to help our club tremendously.”
The Yankees squandered one bases-loaded scoring chance off Greg Aquino (1-1), but not the second.
Aquino walked the bases loaded in the seventh before Nick Swisher doubled home a pair of runs against him and Alex Rodriguez singled home two more. Before Swisher’s at-bat, he stepped out of the box and had to laugh at Derek Jeter’s forecasting ability, since a storm was approaching the Cleveland area.
“(Jeter) told me a couple of innings before it was going to start raining and it wasn’t going to stop, so we need to score right now,” Swisher said. “He’s on first base, and as soon as I came up, it started raining. I had to step out and laugh because it was the exact same situation he told me about.”
Swisher delivered a double high off the wall in left after the Yankees failed to score in a similar situation in the previous inning.
Aquino had entered in the sixth with no outs after Tribe starter Jeremy Sowers, who breezed through five innings, walked the bases loaded on 13 pitches. Aquino struck out Rodriguez, got a force at the plate on Jorge Posada’s tapper back to the mound and ended the inning with Robinson Cano’s lazy fly ball to left.
Indians pitchers set a season high with 11 walks.
“We just gave it to them,” manager Eric Wedge said. “I’m shocked they didn’t score more runs when you walk 11 guys against a good baseball team like that.”
Indians pitchers lead the league with 222 walks issued.
Notes: OF David Dellucci was released by the Indians. He had been designated for assignment on May 29. ... OF Shin-Soo Choo stole two bases Monday, raising his season total to a career-high eight. ... RHP Rafael Betancourt was placed on the disabled list before the game, giving the Indians eight players on the DL. ... SS Derek Jeter’s single in the third was the 2,600th hit of his career ... OF Melky Cabrera returned to the Yankees lineup after missing four games with a bruised right shoulder. ... 1B Mark Teixeira extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games. ... SS Derek Jeter extended his season-high hitting streak to 15 games.