They flushed a big lead early and a tiny one late. Two key members of the elite bullpen combined to give up three homers. The closer and Gold Glove-caliber shortstop committed errors in the ninth inning that forced bonus frames.
Yet, Aaron Hicks’ frustrating day ended with an RBI double and neophyte reliever Stephen Tarpley struck out the side to carry the Yankees to a much-needed 7-6 victory over the Indians in 10 innings before a Progressive Field crowd of 29,028.
“I was having a horrible game up to that point,’’ said Hicks, who had struck out twice, walked, hit into a double play and flied to left. “I was able to get a pitch to hit that I actually put it in play and that felt great.’’
Hicks’ double to left-center scored Cameron Maybin and gave the Yankees their third lead of the day, but closer Aroldis Chapman had worked the ninth and was done. Zack Britton had pitched a scoreless eighth. Adam Ottavino had given up a score-tying homer to Jake Bauers in the seventh. And Tommy Kahnle had been torched for four runs and two homers in the sixth. Chad Green started and Nestor Cortes, Jr. followed him.
Aaron Boone had four arms to choose from for the 10th with a one-run lead, but Jonathan Holder and Luis Cessa threw 24 and 28 pitches, respectively, Saturday. That left righty David Hale and lefty Stephen Tarpley, who joined the club at 4:30 a.m. Sunday from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to take Domingo German’s roster spot.