CLEVELAND — After last weekend, when simply pushing a runner across home plate seemed like such a monumental task for the Yankees, the sight of much-maligned Stephen Drew hitting a home run that ended a 31-inning scoreless streak inspired a sigh of relief Tuesday night.
It did not, however, signal any change in the Yankees’ fortunes.
Those continued on a downward spiral, as the Yankees lost to the Cleveland Indians, 5-4, in 16 innings.
Michael Brantley’s one-out single off the glove of first baseman Mark Teixeira drove in Jose Ramirez for the winning run. The hit was off Branden Pinder, the eighth Yankees pitcher, and punctuated an excruciating 5-hour-4-minute defeat.
The clubhouse was quiet enough to hear the clink of cutlery and ceramic plates as players ate their postgame meal in near silence.
“They’re frustrated, but when you’re not winning, you should be frustrated,” Manager Joe Girardi said. “We’re in a fight. We didn’t think it would be anything different than that. We’re going through a little tough stretch, but we’ll get it turned around.”
The defeat trimmed the Yankees’ lead over streaking Toronto to a half-game in the American League East and came after a dispiriting sweep at home by the Blue Jays.
What made this loss especially crushing was the Yankees’ squandering a hard-earned lead in the 10th inning when closer Andrew Miller, who had converted his first 24 save opportunities of the season, faltered.
The Indians scored twice after Chase Headley’s two-out, pinch-hit single had given the Yankees a 4-2 lead — their first advantage since last Thursday.
The bottom of the 10th got off to a rocky start when Francisco Lindor reached on a dribbler that Teixeira could not shovel to Miller, who was covering, in time. Brantley followed with a double to left, and suddenly the Indians had the tying runs in scoring position. Carlos Santana hit a sacrifice fly before Yan Gomes dumped a single into center that scored Brantley.
“I’m frustrated,” said Miller, who second-guessed himself for throwing the slider that Brantley drove into the left-field corner. “I feel bad. I let us down. There’s never a good time for it; this is an exceptionally bad time for it. But at the same time, it’s a long season for a reason.”
The Yankees escaped the 14th when Bryan Mitchell retired Gomes on a bases-loaded grounder, but it only prolonged their misery. After Headley’s single, the Yankees managed just one more hit, and their last 14 hitters were retired.
Drew’s home run leading off the sixth, his 14th of the season, ended a scoreless streak that dated to Teixeira’s second-inning solo home run Friday against Toronto. The back-to-back shutouts were the first against the Yankees since 1999, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
That the scoreless streak came so soon after the Yankees — second in the American League in runs — had scored 90 runs over a 10-game stretch was perplexing, but also somewhat comforting.
“The way we’ve seen them hit during the course of the year tells you it’s not going to be like this the rest of the year,” Girardi said before the game, hoping that a day off would reinvigorate his hitters. “We just had a few bad days. Sometimes you’ve got to give a little credit to the people you’re facing. If they make their pitches, there usually aren’t a lot of hits.”
That was the case for most of the night against the right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who had allowed three hits and a run in 18 innings over his last two starts. He allowed four hits and no walks and struck out eight. The only blemishes were two solo home runs — the second of which, by Carlos Beltran leading off the eighth, tied the score.
The Yankees’ No. 1 through No. 5 hitters were a combined 1 for 30, the only hit a seventh-inning leadoff single by Alex Rodriguez. But he was quickly erased when Teixeira’s line drive was snagged by first baseman Chris Johnson, who stepped on the bag for a double play. When Rodriguez hit a line drive right at Brantley in left field to end the top of the 16th, he waved his hand in disgust.
“When you’re losing, those turn into double plays,” Teixeira said. “When you’re winning, those are three-, four-run innings. That’s just the way it is sometimes. It’ll turn. We’ll swing our way out of it.”
The Yankees tried to manufacture a run — a rarity for them — in the ninth, but Brett Gardner, who walked with one out, was thrown out trying to steal second. It was Gardner’s first attempted stolen base since June 12.
Luis Severino, the Yankees’ 21-year-old rookie right-hander, followed up his major league debut with another strong performance. Cleveland’s mostly left-handed hitters patiently took Severino’s tailing fastball to left field, scratching across two early runs.
Severino has two sliders — a sharp breaking one and one with a tight break that mimics a cut fastball. The latter was particularly effective against Boston, but he rarely used it as the Indians laid off the slider with the broader bend, which usually broke out of the strike zone.
One had the unfortunate consequence of striking Brantley on the foot on an 0-2 pitch in the first inning, moving Lindor — who had singled to left through an over-shifted infield — into scoring position. He scored on another slider that got away from Severino, a 2-2 pitch he left up that Santana served into right field.
The Indians made the score 2-0 in the second, piecing together three singles, but were deprived of a bigger inning when shortstop Didi Gregorius made a diving stop in the hole that improbably began a 6-4-3 double play.
After Brantley’s leadoff double in the third, Severino settled into a groove and allowed one other hit over the next four innings. A sign of how dynamic his stuff is could be seen in the three bats that he broke, two of which shattered on balls that did not escape the infield.
Pitcher MICHAEL PINEDA, on the disabled list with a strained forearm, threw 25 pitches Monday (all changeups and fastballs) and plans to throw 35 pitches (including sliders) in a bullpen session Thursday. After that, he could be ready for a rehab assignment. With only three off days over the final eight weeks of the season, the Yankees plan to often go with six starters.
An earlier version of this article misstated the given name of the Indians’ starting pitcher. He is Carlos Carrasco, not Hector.
An earlier version also incorrectly described the play that ended the top of the 16th inning. Alex Rodriguez, not Mark Teixeira, hit the line drive to left field.