Clarke Schmidt, Oswaldo Cabrera fuel Yankees’ 3-2 win over Guardians in first game of doubleheader

It wasn’t pretty, but the Yankees found a way to remain road warriors in the opening game of Saturday’s doubleheader in Cleveland.

The Yankees overcame multiple missed opportunities on offense and a two-run throwing error by Gleyber Torres on defense in their 3-2 win at Progressive Field, during which Clarke Schmidt flirted with his first scoreless start in nearly a year.

Schmidt held the hot-hitting Guardians to one hit and zero runs through the first five innings, but he left with two runners on base and nobody out in the sixth, clinging to a 3-0 lead.

Three batters later, with the bases loaded and one out, Yankees reliever Caleb Ferguson induced a potential inning-ending double-play ball off the bat of Tyler Freeman, but the second baseman Torres airmailed a cross-body throw to first, allowing two runs to score.

The Yankees’ offense was similarly sloppy. They loaded the bases with no outs in the second inning but came away with only one run on a Trent Grisham double play.

Grisham grounded into another double play in the fourth, ending a scoreless inning that began with runners on second and third and nobody out. Making only his third start of the season and first since April 3, Grisham — whom the Yankees acquired in the December trade that also brought Juan Soto from San Diego — finished 0 for 4.

The Yankees’ big blow came off the bat of Oswaldo Cabrera, whose two-run home run in the sixth inning against reliever Nick Sandlin proved to be the difference. Cabrera had fouled off a bunt attempt two pitches earlier.

The big swing continued a hot start for Cabrera, who now has three home runs after hitting only five in 115 games last season.

It was enough offense to give Schmidt (1-0, 3.68 ERA) his first win of the season. Equipped with a sharp cutter and biting knuckle-curve, Clarke struck out seven, issued five walks and was charged with both runs (one earned). His last scoreless start came on May 31, a stretch covering 24 non-relief appearances.

Schmidt’s effectiveness was particularly notable considering Cleveland loaded its lineup with eight left-handed bats. Entering Saturday, lefty batters owned a .298 average against the right-handed Schmidt in his career.

The Yankees’ missed chances helped Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco navigate the five hits and five walks he gave up over 4 2/3 innings. The 37-year-old Carrasco, a former Met who made the Guardians out of spring training, allowed one run but took the loss to fall to 0-1.

Ian Hamilton and Clay Holmes combined to throw three scoreless innings out of the Yankees’ bullpen to finish off the win.

This weekend’s series marks a battle of early-season heavyweights who entered Saturday with the two best records in the American League. With the win, the Yankees improved to 7-1 on the road and 11-3 overall. Cleveland fell to 9-4.

A rainout Friday night prompted Saturday’s split doubleheader, with Cody Poteet set to start the nightcap for the Yankees in his team debut. Cleveland’s Triston Mackenzie (1-1, 4.00) is also slated to start the second game, which is scheduled to begin at 6:10 p.m. ET.