Rapid Reaction: Yankees 5, Indians 3

July, 7, 2014
Jul 7
10:29
PM ET
CLEVELAND -- If you think you've heard this story before, you have. Only in the past, the names were David Phelps, Chase Whitley and, yes, even Vidal Nuno.

It goes something like this: Emergency starter gets called up from the minors and in his first big league start throws an absolute gem and helps the Yankees to an unexpected, but quite welcome, victory.

Tonight, it was Shane Greene's turn to get the Yankees dreaming about finding a hidden gem in their farm system. Bolstered by some early offense -- five runs in the first three innings, although it could have and probably should have been more, Greene earned the win in his major league starting debut as the Yankees kicked off this four-game series with a 5-3 victory over the very sloppy Indians.

Greene Machine: In his first major league start, Shane Greene held the Indians hitless into the fifth inning and gave the Yankees six good ones, allowing two runs on just four hits. Greene walked no one, struck out two and definitely (you would think) earned himself another start five days from now.

Bats aflutter: A lot of guys with good nights at the plate tonight: Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki and Brian McCann with three hits apiece, Brian Roberts with two, the team with a total of 12.

Justin time: Indians manager Terry Francona pulled the plug on his starter, Justin Masterson, two batters into the third inning after he issued a leadoff walk to Mark Teixeira and gave up a hard single to Brian McCann. It was the second time this season Masterson, who had never lost to the Yankees at Progressive Field, failed to make it through the third inning. Masterson allowed six hits, walked three and hit one in his two-plus innings of work. He was charged with all five Yankees runs, and of his 54 pitches, only 24 were strikes.

Sloppy second: The Yankees got two doubles, two singles, two walks and a hit batter in the second off Justin Masterson, came away with three runs -- and probably could have had a lot more if not for two exceedingly strange plays.

The inning started with back-to-back doubles by McCann and Roberts, scoring one run, but Ichiro Suzuki's follow-up single not only didn't score a run, it resulted in an out when Roberts fell down rounding first and Ichiro -- apparently assuming Roberts had scored -- was thrown out in a rundown between first and second. (Indians C Yan Gomes made a mistake by throwing to second -- he easily could have nailed Roberts, who was virtually crawling back to third). Masterson then walked Kelly Johnson and hit Francisco Cervelli, painfully, in the thigh just above his left knee, loading the bases. Brett Gardner singled in a second run, and a walk to Derek Jeter forced in a third. But Jacoby Ellsbury's hot grounder to first began an unusual 3-2 double play when 1B Carlos Santana stepped on the bag to retire Ellsbury, then fired home, where Gomes applied a tag to the sliding Cervelli to end the inning.

Ugly third: The Yankees tacked on two more in the third inning on two singles (McCann and Ichiro), a walk (Teixeira), another hit batter (Kelly Johnson, in the buttocks), a balk and a Cervelli groundout.

Nicked: Greene's no-hit bid was ruined by Nick Swisher, who hit a 3-1 pitch over the left-center-field fence with two outs in the fifth. It was the sixth home run of the season for the struggling Swisher, who came in batting just .197, and cut the Yankees' lead to 5-1.

Closing time: Dellin Betances worked the final two innings, relieving David Huff in the eighth after Yan Gomes' leadoff homer, to earn his first career save. But, I suspect, not his last.

Tomorrow: Game 2 of this four-game set matches Masahiro Tanaka (12-3, 2.27) and RHP Trevor Bauer (2-4, 4.42), first pitch at 7:05 p.m.
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
12 2.51 135 129
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .293
HRM. Teixeira 17
RBIM. Teixeira 48
RB. Gardner 59
OPSJ. Ellsbury .778
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135