NEW YORK (AP) — Corey Kluber handcuffed Detroit batters to gain his 100th career win with his most dominant performance since 2018, and the New York Yankees beat the Tigers 2-0 Sunday to complete their first series sweep this season and get back to .500.
Kluber (2-2) looked like the pitcher who won AL Cy Young Awards with Cleveland in 2014 and 2017, before injuries wrecked his 2019 and 2020 seasons.
The 35-year-old right-hander allowed two hits in eight innings, walked one and struck out 10 to reach double digits for the 47th time but first since Sept. 24, 2018.
He induced 18 swinging strikes — 13 alone on changeups that flummoxed an opponent whose season batting average dropped to a major league-worst .195.
In addition to the strikeouts, Kluber got 11 outs on grounders, two on infield popups and one on a lineout to second baseman Rougned Odor in short right field. Detroit did not have a single flyout against him.
Kluber retired his final eight batters, reaching the Yankees’ season high for innings, and lowered his ERA to 3.03 — down from 6.10 after his third start this season. Nicknamed Klubot for his robot-like demeanor, he even smiled when congratulated in the dugout after his final inning.
Aroldis Chapman struck out two in a perfect ninth that included Detroit’s lone flyout to remain perfect in six save chances.
New York finished a three-game sweep and with eight wins in 11 games improved to 14-14, its first time at .500 since the Yankees were 5-5.
Detroit has lost five straight and 10 of 11, dropping to a major league-worst 8-21. The Tigers started just one hitter with a batting average higher than .226, Jeimer Candelario, and Detroit batters struck out 12 times, increasing their total to 305 in 29 games.
José Ureña (1-4) was nearly as good as Kluber but was hurt by the smallest of margins.
Gio Urshela reached leading off the second on a dribbler that nicked third base for a single. Ureña walked slumping Aaron Hicks, and Kyle Higashioka hit an RBI double that kicked up the chalk on the left-field foul line. Brett Gardner followed with a sacrifice fly to the right-field warning track.
Ureña allowed two runs and three hits, struck out seven and walked one, retiring his last 17 batters in yet another game this season in which pitchers excelled.
Tigers: OF Nomar Mazara (left abdominal strain) will start an injury rehabilitation assignment when Triple-A Toledo opens its season Tuesday, spending one game at DH and one in right field.
Yankees: 1B Luke Voit (knee surgery March 29) will start a rehab assignment at some point this week. ... C Robinson Chirinos (broken right wrist March 10) is on Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s roster for Tuesday’s opener at Syracuse, as is INF Derek Dietrich, who failed to make the Yankees roster in spring training.
Tigers: Had not announced a starter for Tuesday’s series opener at Boston.
Yankees: Domingo Germán (2-2, 4.05 ERA) starts Tuesday’s series opener against Houston, coming off wins against Cleveland and Baltimore. Zack Greinke (2-1, 3.44) starts for the Astros, who will be playing in New York for the first time since their sign-stealing scheme became public after the 2019 season.
Rays 5, Astros 4
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Austin Meadows hit a three-run homer and later scored the go-ahead run on Manuel Margot’s pinch-hit single in the seventh inning as Tampa Bay beat Houston.
The Rays avoided a three-game sweep in the series between the last two American League champions.
Meadows homered in the fifth to make it 3-all. With the score tied at 4 in the seventh, Meadows was hit by a pitch from Brooks Raley (0-1) and later scored when Margot punched a hit through the right side.
Jeffrey Springs (2-0) got the win in relief. Diego Castillo pitched the ninth for his seventh save in nine tries.
Yordan Alvarez hit his third home run for the Astros in the fourth inning. He doubled and scored in the sixth, and barely missed hitting another homer in the eighth when Margot ran down his line drive in the left-field corner.
Kevin Kiermaier had three of Tampa Bay’s seven hits.
Meadows homered after Astros starter Christian Javier walked Soshi Tsutsugo and hit Randy Arozarena with a pitch. Meadows’ fifth homer was the Rays’ first hit in four games with a runner in scoring position.
The Astros regained a 4-3 lead in the fifth on Myles Straw’s two-out single.
Kiermaier doubled in the sixth and scored the tying run when catcher Martin Maldonado couldn’t handle a high throw from first baseman Yuri Gurriel on Willy Adames’ groundball.
Rays starter Rich Hill pitched to 11 batters, giving up one hit and one walk in three innings.
Rays: 1B Ji-Man Choi (arthroscopic knee surgery) will play at least a week for Triple-A Durham on a rehab assignment before being activated. . . . . RHP Pete Fairbanks (right rotator cuff strain) will travel with the team on its seven-game California road trip.
Astros: Zack Greinke will start Tuesday night in the first game of a three-game series against the Yankees in New York.
Rays: Tyler Glasnow will face Shohei Ohtani on Monday night in the first game of a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim.
Blue Jays 7, Braves 2
DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) — The Toronto Blue Jays are taking no chances with newcomer George Springer.
Marcus Semien homered and drove in four runs as Toronto finished a three-game sweep of Atlanta after Springer exited early with leg fatigue.
Joe Panik pinch-hit for Springer in the sixth inning.
“Legs felt tired, that’s how he said it,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “It was hot today.”
Springer was the designated hitter for the fourth consecutive game since making his Toronto debut Wednesday. The World Series MVP when Houston won its first title in 2017 signed a team-record $150 million, six-year deal with the Blue Jays this offseason but missed time because of a strained oblique and later because of a right quadriceps strain.
“He didn’t do anything for a long time, so we have to be careful,” Montoyo said.
Springer hit his first two homers with Toronto on Saturday night.
Semien hit a two-run homer during a three-run eighth to help Toronto win for the seventh time in nine games.
Braves starter Ian Anderson (2-1) lasted just four innings, allowing four runs and six hits during an 89-pitch outing.
“It was a grind from the get-go,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “Just didn’t have a good feel for anything. Just one of those days.”
Anderson was coming off wins against the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs in which he allowed five hits in 13 2/3 scoreless innings. The right-hander limited the Cubs to one hit over seven innings on April 27.
Danny Jansen, hitless in his previous 35 at-bats, had an RBI single in the second and Semien’s two-run double in the third put Toronto up 3-1.
Jansen also singled in the fourth and scored to make it 4-1 on Bo Bichette’s double.
“It feels great man, man,” Jansen said. “A sigh of relief.”
Ronald Acuña Jr. got Atlanta with 4-2 in the fifth on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to the center-field warning track off Ross Stripling.
Ryan Borucki (3-1) replaced Stripling and prevented further damage by striking out Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna.
“What a job by Borucki,” Stripling said. “It was awesome.”
Stripling, coming back from a right forearm flexor strain, gave up two runs and five hits over 4 1/3 innings.
Rafael Dolis entered with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth and struck out Acuña to get his third save.
William Contreras, recalled from the alternate site after the Braves put catchers Travis d’Arnaud and Alex Jackson on the injured list, had an RBI single in the second.
The Braves are 1-5 on Sunday. Atlanta went 44-18 (.710) on Sunday from 2018- 2020, one of just two teams in baseball to win 70 percent of their Sunday games in that span. The Los Angeles Dodgers went 48-16 (.750).
Braves: D’Arnaud went on the 60-day IL with a torn ligament in his left thumb and will have surgery in the next few days after getting hurt Saturday night on a tag play at the plate. Snitker said d’Arnaud is expected back this season. Jackson was placed on the 10-day IL with a strained left hamstring.
Blue Jays: LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (right glute strain) could return Thursday after missing one start. ... C Alejandro Kirk (left flexor strain), LHP Tommy Milone (left shoulder inflammation), and RHP Anthony Castro (right forearm strain) were placed on 10-day IL.
Braves: Open a three-game series at Washington on Tuesday night. RHP Huascar Ynoa (2-1) will face RHP Joe Ross (2-1).
Blue Jays: Start a 10-game, 11-day road trip through three different time zones Monday night in Oakland. LHP Steven Matz (4-1) and Athletics RHP Frankie Montas (2-2) are the starters. Toronto will also make stops in Houston and Atlanta.