NEW YORK — Corey Kluber won for the first time in nearly four months, pitching six shutout innings in his first outing against the team that helped him blossom into a star, and the New York Yankees routed Cleveland 8-0 Friday night in the start of the Indians’ final series in the Bronx.

Joey Gallo homered twice, and Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner and Giancarlo Stanton hit one each for the Yankees, who tied their season high with five home runs.

With 14 games left, New York moved a half-game ahead of Toronto for one of the two AL wild-card berths in a tight race that also includes Boston. The Yankees are just 30-37 vs. the AL East but 47-28 against other teams.

Kluber (5-3) allowed four hits, struck out four, walked two and hit a batter with a pitch, escaping two-on, no-outs trouble in the third and fifth innings. The 35-year-old right-hander was 98-58 for the Indians from 2011-19, winning a pair of AL Cy Young Awards.

Kluber missed most of 2019 and ’20 with injuries and rebounded to pitch a no-hitter for the Yankees at Texas on May 19. He left his next outing with a strained right shoulder and didn’t return until Aug. 30, then went 0-1 in his first two starts back.

He was masterful against the Indians, throwing 61 of 95 pitches for strikes while mixing 31 curveballs, 31 cutters, 16 sinkers, 16 changeups and just one fastball. Batters were 0 for 6 against his cutter.

Cleveland leadoff batters reached in four of the first six innings, but New York’s much-maligned defense turned three double plays, two on grounders by Myles Straw and Franmil Reyes. New York put together another when Bobby Bradley strayed too far off first and was doubled up by Judge on Harold Ramírez’s fly to medium right – Judge’s 10th assist this season.

Gallo raised his season total to 37 homers, connecting in the first off Zach Plesac (10-6) and back-to-back with Stanton in the eighth against J.C. Mejia. Gallo is tied with Kansas City’s Salvador Perez for the major league lead with six multi-homer games. New York is 14-1, including the playoffs, when Judge and Stanton homer in the same game.

TWINS 7, BLUE JAYS 3: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. connected for his major league-leading 46th homer, but Jorge Polanco, Josh Donaldson, and Miguel Sanó hit consecutive homers as Minnesota won in Toronto.

The Blue Jays slipped into the third spot in the AL wild-card race, one game behind Boston and half-game behind the Yankees. Toronto fell to 13-3 in September.

Guerrero hit a solo homer in the third that pulled Toronto within 5-3. He was tied with Kansas City’s Salvador Perez for the homer lead going into the game.

RAYS 7, TIGERS 4 (10 inn.): Brett Phillips hit a three-run homer in the 10th inning and the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays came back from a three-run deficit in the ninth to beat visiting Detroit .

The Rays maintained their 8 1/2-game lead in the AL East over Boston. The New York Yankees are nine back.


REDS 3, DODGERS 1: Luis Castillo struck out 10 while outpitching Walker Buehler, Kyle Farmer doubled twice and Cincinnati snapped Los Angeles’ six-game winning streak.

The Reds have dropped their last seven series to slip to fourth in the NL wild-card standings, a half-game behind San Diego and a full game behind second-place St. Louis.

The Dodgers, already assured at least a wild-card spot, began the day one game behind San Francisco in the NL West.


ANGELS: Shohei Ohtani will pitch for the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday after his sore arm apparently felt much better in a bullpen session.

Ohtani threw about 30 pitches Friday, and the Angels decided their two-way superstar isn’t done yet on the mound as they finish out another non-playoff season.

METS: Jacob deGrom’s rehab from a right elbow issue has been excruciatingly slow. Nevertheless, the Mets are still planning for their ace to return to the mound before the season is over.

After three weeks of playing catch at various distances, deGrom progressed this week to throwing off the mound. He felt really good after his first bullpen session since July, according to manager Luis Rojas. The right-hander played light catch on Friday, and the plan is for him to throw another side session sometime this weekend.

The Mets are not sure when he will face batters, and if that step will take place on a rehab assignment or with the team. That next hurdle is not on the club’s radar yet. But Rojas said on Friday, whether deGrom is going to be stretched out or not, the Mets hope he can help them “with an inning or two at some point later in the season.”

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