Yankees manager Joe Girardi talks about the Sonny Gray trade.
CLEVELAND – Brimming with new hope, Sonny Gray arrived at his first Yankees start with a bubbly mix of excitement and anticipation.
“I was looking forward to this moment for a while,’’ Gray said of changing uniforms and trading places, moving from last-place Oakland to the contending New Yorkers.
But it wasn’t long before the helium leaked out of the party balloons.
A trio of Yankees fielding errors led to two unearned Indians runs at Progressive Field, where the Yankees continued their team-wide offensive slump – this time succumbing to a genuine ace.
In another dominant performance, Cleveland right-hander Corey Kluber tossed a complete-game, 5-1 victory before 28,124 fans on Thursday night.
Caps were tipped in Kluber’s direction for his masterful three-hitter, striking out 11 batters and improving to 4-1 with a 1.71 ERA in six career starts against the Yanks (57-50)
On an evening when the slumping Aaron Judge, Matt Holliday and Todd Frazier were all rested from the lineup, “Kluber had a lot to do with it,’’ manager Joe Girardi said of his club’s downward arc, having scored just once in the last 19 innings and four runs total in losing three straight games.
“His stuff was dynamite,’’ Girardi said. Gary Sanchez’s seventh-inning homer was the Yanks’ lone run. “But we have been sluggish. We’ve got to figure it out.’’
There was less forgiveness for the opening-frame follies, “probably as bad a first inning as we’ve had all year,’’ Girardi said.
Fielding errors by first baseman Chase Headley and second baseman Tyler Wade, and a throwing error by Clint Frazier – plating a second run on a Jose Ramirez RBI single – marked the Yanks’ worst defensive inning since Oct. 2, 2010, when they committed three fourth-inning errors at Boston.
“That’s just part of the game,’’ said Gray, who lasted six innings. “We still felt pretty good about ourselves.’’