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CLEVELAND — Maybe big early leads aren’t the Yankees’ thing.
After coming back from a pair of early three-run deficits earlier in the series, the Yankees saw one of their own disappear quickly in a 7-3 loss to the Indians, as they were unable to complete a four-game sweep at Progressive Field.
The Yankees used their first back-to-back homers of the season to build the 3-0 lead in the fourth, with a two-run shot by Gio Urshela followed by Mike Ford’s first homer of the season.
They’ve hit nine homers in their last four games after going deep just six times in their previous seven.
But Jameson Taillon immediately lost the lead, as Cleveland scored four runs in the bottom of the inning, with the first four runners of the frame reaching base — and scoring.
After striking out the side in order in the third — and retiring nine of the first 10 batters he faced — Taillon gave up a flare single to Cesar Hernandez to start the fourth. Jose Ramirez singled to right. Eddie Rosario then singled through the right side of the infield to drive in Hernandez and send Ramirez to third.
After a visit from pitching coach Matt Blake, Franmil Reyes hit a three-run shot out to right, over a leaping Aaron Judge, to give Cleveland a 4-3 lead.
With a chance to tie it, the Yankees stranded Judge at third in the fifth against left-hander Sam Hentges when Urshela struck out.
After Nick Nelson replaced Taillon to start the fifth, Cleveland added a run on a Ramirez sacrifice fly.
The Yankees threatened with two out in the sixth, as Mike Tauchman doubled and moved to third on a wild pitch. Clint Frazier — pinch hitting for Brett Gardner — walked against Cal Quantrill before Giancarlo Stanton hit a hard comebacker that Quantrill somehow stabbed.
Nelson’s struggles continued in the bottom of the inning. Reyes led off with his third hit of the day, a triple to left-center and scored on Jordan Luplow’s double to left. Austin Hedges’ two-out single gave Cleveland another run to make it 7-3.
The Yankees looked to be in store for a good day at the plate, loading the bases with two out in the top of the first with a line single by Giancarlo Stanton that was measured at 120.1 mph and a pair of two-out walks by Rougned Odor and Gleyber Torres against right-hander Triston McKenzie.
But Urshela struck out to end the threat after McKenzie threw 29 pitches.
Though the Yankees knocked out McKenzie after four innings, they were unable to score off the Indians’ bullpen, with Sam Hentges, Quantrill, James Karinchak and Emmanuel Clase combining for five scoreless innings.
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