Major League Baseball

Indians aim for rare sweep of Yankees

mlb7YANKEES (39-24) AT INDIANS (33-31)
1:10 p.m. ET; ST-OH, MLBN, YES, MLB.TV

The New York Yankees have answered winning nine straight series by losing back-to-back sets.

The Yankees will look to avert being swept for the third time this season on Sunday afternoon when they play the finale of a three-game series versus the host Cleveland Indians.

New York, which has lost five of its last six contests, has not been swept in a three-game series in Cleveland since Sept. 11-13, 1970 at Municipal Stadium.

Didi Gregorius homered to highlight his second straight multi-hit performance since returning from Tommy John surgery in October, but New York saw the early lead go by the boards in an 8-4 setback on Saturday.

“(Gregorius) looks great up there. You could tell he’s real comfortable, made a really great play in the field as well,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “… It’s always nice when you’ve been out with an injury to come right back in and swing the bat well. It’s always nice.”

Like Boone, veteran left-hander CC Sabathia also isn’t overly concerned with the team’s recent dry spell.

“It’s a long season. We’ve played well up until this point, so we just have to get back on it,” Sabathia said. “… It’s just a tough stretch for us, but we’ll be fine.”

Chad Green (1-2, 9.16 ERA) is expected to work the opener’s role on Sunday with fellow right-hander Masahiro Tanaka making a stint on the paternity leave list. Tanaka was slated to start the series finale before returning to New York for the birth of his baby girl on Friday.

Green will make his 21st appearance and fourth start on Sunday after allowing one run on four hits in one inning of a no-decision at Toronto on Thursday.

The 28-year-old owns an 0-2 mark with a 6.92 ERA in five career appearances (one start) versus the Indians. He has allowed a pair of hits to both Jason Kipnis (2-for-4) and Jose Ramirez (2-for-5).

Green and company would be wise to pitch carefully to Roberto Perez, who homered in his fourth straight game and drove in three runs in Cleveland’s win on Saturday. The last Indians player to go deep in five consecutive contests was Mike Napoli, who accomplished the feat from July 30-Aug. 3, 2016.

“Right now, I’m swinging with confidence, going pitch by pitch and not trying to do too much,” Perez said. “I’m trying to put the ball in play and make something happen.”

The Indians have belted 14 homers while winning four of their first five contests on the six-game homestand.

Cleveland will hand the ball to right-hander Shane Bieber (5-2, 3.57), who improved to 3-0 in his last four starts after allowing two runs on five hits in seven innings of a 5-2 victory over Minnesota on Tuesday.

Bieber has surrendered five homers in his last two outings and 15 in 13 appearances this season.

The 24-year-old allowed four runs (three earned) in seven innings to win his lone career start versus New York on July 13, 2018, although the current roster is just 2-for-17 against him.

–Field Level Media

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