CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The excitement that is opening day for the Indians at Progressive Field lasted exactly four batters.
As luck would have it, the air was taken out of the sails of the sold out crowd at the park by an old friend – Travis Hafner.
The long-time Indian clubbed a three-run blast off Ubaldo Jimenez, and helped out by two homers by second basemen Robinson Cano, the Yankees beat up the Tribe 11-6.
Hafner, who last season had just 34 RBI for the Indians while spending more time on the DL, had four RBI in the game, including a RBI single in the 3rd that put New York up 4-3.
“He’s a phenomenal player,” Indians LF Michael Brantley said. “I had a great relationship with him while he was here, I wish him all the best, but hopefully tomorrow we come out and get that W.”
Jimenez was rather brutal, giving up seven runs on seven hits in just 4.1 innings. He gave up two homers, and threw 91 pitches, 52 for strikes.
The Indians got offense early off Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda, scoring three in the first inning to tie the game, but that was about it for an offense that scored 13 off the Rays and last seasons CY Young award winner David Price Sunday.
Kuroda went 5.1 innings, allowing three runs on five hits. He walked four but struck out six in the win.
“We had a real chance, he was on the ropes,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of the first inning. “To his credit, he came back in there and stayed out there, started throwing his breaking ball, got a feel for that.”
The loss drops the Indians to 3-4 on the season, and after a 2-0 start they have dropped four of their last five. New York is now 3-4 as well.
New York got on the board quickly with Hafner’s first big hit, a three-run blast that put the Yankees up 3-0.
It was Hafner’s 100th career homer at Progressive Field, and his second of the season for New York.
The Indians got back in the game, scoring three in the first off Kuroda. Jason Kipnis made it 3-1 when Michael Brantley scored on a sac fly.
Michael Brantley hit a seeing-eye single through the hole, scoring Asdrubal Cabrera to make it 3-2. With the bases loaded and one out, Mark Reynolds hit sacrifice fly to deep left scoring Nick Swisher to tie the game.
It stayed that way till the third, when Hafner got his 4th RBI of the game on a single to shallow center, scoring Robinson Cano.
A two-out run by the Yankees in the 4th inning pushed it to a 5-3. Catcher Chris Stewart singled, stole second, and scored on a Brett Gardner single.
From there Yankees 2B Robinson Cano took over, slamming two homers over the next two innings, driving Jimenez out of the game and putting New York firmly in control 8-3.
Things continued to get worse for the Tribe, as New York got three in the 7th to make it 11-3, with Rich Hill taking the brunt of the punishment for the Tribe.
The Indians were able to put three across in the 8th, as Mike Aviles slammed his first homer for the Indians, a two-run shot, and Bourn scored on a wild pitch to make it 11-6.
Tuesday Carlos Carrasco will go for the Indians in a spot start, as he will go up against lefty Andy Pettite (1-0) for New York at 7:05pm.