The Indians turned a comeback into a route of the New York Yankees on Thursday, defeating the Bronx Bombers 9-3 to split the four-game series.
The hero of the game was Tribe catcher Roberto Perez, who made his Major League debut. And what a debut it was — he went 2 for 3, including a two-run home run.
By the fifth inning, the Yankees owned a 3-0 lead, but the Indians scored four in the seventh and five in the eighth.
“The guys was throwing 94 and 95, and I was trying to hit the fastball,” Perez said of his eighth-inning at bat. “I told myself, ‘I’m not going to try to do too much. I’m just going to put the ball in play.’”
Instead, Perez put it out of play with a homer that initially was called a ground-rule double until the call was reversed by instant replay. The homer increased Cleveland’s lead to 6-3.
Perez was called up from the minors earlier this week. He got the start Thursday because regular catcher Yan Gomes was given the night off to get some much-needed rest.
Other offensive contributors included second baseman Jason Kipnis, who went 3 for 4 and scored two runs, and left fielder Chris Dickerson, who went 3 for 4 with two runs.
Tribe shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera’s three-run triple in the seventh tied the game.
Carlos Santana also had a two-run homer in the eighth.
Indians reliever Carlos Carrasco (2-3) got the win, while Matt Thornton (0-3) took the loss.
Tribe starter T.J. House pitched 4.2 innings, allowing eight hits and three runs, all of them earned. He walked two and struck out five.
Five Cleveland relievers kept the Indians in the game by pitching shut-out ball, paving the way for the offensive onslaught and win.
Nick Hagadone gave up a single in the top of the ninth, but struck out one and induced a double play to end the game.
The Indians (45-46) open a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox at 7:05 p.m. Friday. The south-siders, who lost to the Red Sox 4-3, are 44-49, nine games back of front-running Detroit (50-37). The Indians are seven games back.