Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
NEW YORK -- With a pair of All-Stars pitching on the Yankee Stadium stage, it was the established ace who topped an emerging one Monday night.
Corey Kluber beat Luis Severino in a matchup worthy of October, and slumping Jose Ramirez homered twice to power the Cleveland Indians past the New York Yankees 6-2 for their fifth straight victory.
"You can't help but be aware of who's pitching for the other team and when it's a guy like Severino, obviously, most likely they're not going to give up a lot of runs," the soft-spoken Kluber said.
Carlos Santana hit a tiebreaking homer off Severino in the seventh inning and Austin Jackson also went deep for the AL Central leaders, who increased their cushion to seven games over idle Minnesota.
It was an inauspicious start to a benchmark week for the Yankees, who fell 3 1/2 games behind first-place Boston in the AL East. Following two more meetings with Cleveland, the rival Red Sox arrive for a four-game series.
"You look at this as a very tough week, but the thing is, you can't look past these three games because of the four that are looming," manager Joe Girardi said before the game. "You've got to go one day at a time here."
Coming off three consecutive shutouts in a sweep of Kansas City, the defending AL champions ran their scoreless streak to 30 innings before Chase Headleyhomered against Kluber (13-4) leading off the third. But the 2014 AL Cy Young Award winner went eight innings and allowed only three hits, rebounding from a loss to Boston last week that ended a five-game winning streak and marked his first defeat since July 4.
"He pounded the strike zone," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "It was two really good pitchers going at it. Fortunately, Kluber stayed the course, did what he usually does."
Kluber struck out seven and walked one as the surging Indians (74-56) won for the 14th time in 18 games. The league leader in ERA gave up a go-ahead single to No. 9 batter Todd Frazier with two outs in the fifth, but Ramirez quickly tied it again in the sixth when he sent a 99 mph fastball from the 23-year-old Severino (11-6) into the second deck in right field for his fourth career multihomer game -- all this season.
Ramirez came in batting .169 in his previous 20 games and had only one home run since the All-Star break. He also made two excellent defensive plays at second base.
"You wouldn't even notice that he was in a slump, honestly. He's the same guy every day," rookie teammate Bradley Zimmer said. "He did his thing tonight."
The speedy Zimmer created a seventh-inning run with his legs and added an RBI double in the ninth.
Kluber retired his final nine hitters before Cody Allen finished with a perfect inning.
Severino gave up four hits -- three homers -- in 6 2/3 innings and lost for only the second time in 10 starts. He struck out nine but dropped to 6-2 with a 2.38 ERA since the All-Star break.
"I thought I pitched well, but I made some mistakes," Severino said.
New York's top six batters went 0 for 22 with a walk.
Copyright 2017 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.