September 20, 2014

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Indians blank Yankees but injuries to key players cause concern

Cleveland Indians' Lonnie Chisenhall, left, congratulates teammate Jose Ramirez at home plate after Chisenhall scored on a two-run home run by Ramirez. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

Cleveland Indians’ Lonnie Chisenhall, left, congratulates teammate Jose Ramirez at home plate after Chisenhall scored on a two-run home run by Ramirez. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

NEW YORK — Right-hander Corey Kluber continued his roll, rookie shortstop Jose Ramirez hit his first major league homer (with his parents in town from the Dominican Republic) and the Indians picked up a 3-0 victory over the New York Yankees on Saturday afternoon before a sellout crowd in Yankee Stadium.

But the good feelings — which included the Yankees and Indians partnering to retrieve the home run ball for Ramirez in a trade for two balls signed by Jason Giambi — was obscured by ominous injury news.

Outfielder David Murphy will undergo an MRI on his right side, possibly as early as this morning, and designated hitter/outfielder Nick Swisher’s right knee is “barking” again, according to manager Terry Francona. Both could be candidates for the disabled list, depending on test results.

Murphy left Saturday’s game in the sixth inning when the soreness in his right side that has been bothering him for a week “grabbed” a little bit more when he struck out in the fifth.

“I don’t feel like it blew out, but I feel like it got to the point where it was close enough to where I didn’t want to test it any more,” Murphy said. “It doesn’t feel terrible. The main issue is that it’s a sensitive area, if we’re talking baseball-specific. We do so much twisting and torquing when you hit, when you throw.”

The possible loss of Murphy would be a blow as the Indians pursue a wild-card playoff berth since Murphy entered the day second in the American League with a .386 average with runners in scoring position. Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis missed nearly all of May with a strained right oblique and said recently it is still limiting him.

Swisher was lifted from right field in the seventh after being unable to score from second base on a single to right center by Chris Dickerson in the top of the inning. Swisher was on the 15-day disabled list once this season with a hyperextended left knee and said he had injections in both knees in May.

Asked if the disabled list is possible for Murphy or Swisher, Francona said, “I don’t know. We’ve got some things to think about.”

The injuries overshadowed another terrific performance by Kluber (13-6, 2.46), who struck out 10, allowed four hits, walked one and hit a batter. The right-hander became the sixth Indians pitcher in 100 years to record at least seven double-digit strikeout games in a season and the first since Dennis Eckersley in 1976. Kluber also joined Sam McDowell, Bob Feller, Herb Score and Luis Tiant.

The Indians improved to 16-9 in games started by Kluber. In nine starts since June 25, Kluber is 7-1 with a 1.19 ERA in 68 innings.

“You can feel the energy in the dugout on the days he’s pitching before the game starts,” said Indians closer Cody Allen, who picked up his 15th save. “He’s a stud.”

On any other day, Ramirez would have been the star. His two-run homer in the second inning came with five family members in the stands. Splitting the shortstop position with Mike Aviles after Asdrubal Cabrera was traded on July 31, Ramirez went 3-for-4.

“I feel really happy. Everyone dreams to play here,” Ramirez said through an interpreter. “They’re giving me a chance. I know they’re testing me to see my ability to be an everyday player.”

Ramirez made the sign of the cross as he scored after the homer that barely cleared the right-field fence.

“Yes,” he said, “I was thanking God for that opportunity.”

TODAY

WHO: Cleveland vs. N.Y. Yankees
TIME: 1:05 p.m.
WHERE: Yankee Stadium, New York
PITCHERS: Carrasco (3-4, 3.88 ERA) vs. Guthrie (7-7, 3.97)
TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM

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