YANKEES 3, INDIANS 1
The Yankees had hoped to at least tread water in the standings while ace left-hander CC Sabathia was on the disabled list with a sore left elbow. Instead they lately have been sinking like they had an anchor tied around their necks.
But Sabathia came to the rescue on Friday to pitch 7 1/3 dominant innings, giving up just four hits and one walk while fanning nine batters and Nick Swisher homered and drove in all three of the team’s runs as New York ended a three-game losing streak while sending Cleveland to their ninth straight loss.
Sabathia (13-3) gave up a solo home run to Asdrubal Cabrera with one out in the fourth inning. But he escaped a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the fifth and a two-on, one-out problem in the sixth to run his record at Progressive Field against his former team to 3-1.
Speaking of jams, Rafael Soriano made it interesting in the ninth by giving up leadoff singles to Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley and then wild pitched them to second and third to start the inning. After recording two outs on a strikeout and infield popup, Soriano walked pinch-hitter Casey Kotchman to load the bases. However, he induced pinch-hitter Jack Hannahan to bounce out to end the game.
So Soriano did indeed earn his 32nd save in 34 opportunities this season.
The Yankees opened the game against rookie right-hander Corey Kluber as if it was going to be a laugher.
Derek Jeter just missed a home run in lacing a leadoff double off the wall in right-center. Swisher followed with a carbon-copy double off the same area of the wall to score Jeter.
The Yankees then managed to load the bases on Kluber with one out after a walk to Robinson Cano and a lined single to right by Curtis Granderson. However, as would be the norm on Friday for the Yankees, they could not land the finishing blow on Kluber.
Eric Chavez struck out swinging and Russell Martin flied out to right to leave the bases loaded.
The Yankees loaded the bases again in the second inning with one out on an Ichiro Suzuki single, Jeter was struck in the helmet with a Kluber fastball, and Swisher drew a walk. But Cano ended that threat by bouncing into an inning-ending double play.
Kluber then settled in to hold the Yankees to that lone run despite six hits and two walks and six strikeouts over five innings.
The Yankees finally untied the contest in the seventh inning off rookie reliever Cody Allen (0-1) and it was the same combination of Jeter and Swisher that did the damage.
Jeter opened the inning with an infield single and he advanced to second on a throwing error on Cabrera. Swisher followed with the 100th career home run as a Yankee on a long blast into the bleachers in right-center that untied the game.
Jeter and Swisher combined for five of the team’s nine hits, two walks and they scored and drove in all of the team’s runs.
The Yankees’ victory improves their season record to 73-52 and, combined with the Tampa Bay Rays’ 5-4 loss the the Oakland Athletics, the Yankees now lead the second-place Rays by 3 1/2 games in the American League East. The Indians fell to 54-71.
- After the team lost three in a row, Sabathia could not have come off the D.L. at a better time and he could not have pitched a better game. Sabathia used his slider to get most of his nine strikeouts and he really did not give up but three hard-hit balls all evening to the weak-hitting Tribe. Sabathia threw exactly 100 pitches and 63 of them were strikes.
- Jeter, in honor of Skip Bayless of ESPN, must have stocked up on performing-enhancing drugs before the game to go 2-for-4 with a double and scored two runs. After having had his 13-game hitting streak stopped against Boston on Aug. 18, Jeter has now run off a five-game hitting streak and he is 11-for-22 with three home runs, four doubles, three RBIs and eight runs scored. Jeter is hitting a robust .385 in August and he has raised his season average to .325, which is third in the American League. Bayless can kiss Jeter’s hindquarters and stick his unfounded speculation up his own. Can ESPN please test Bayless for cocaine?
- Swisher was 3-for-4 on the night and just a triple short of cycle with a run scored and three RBIs. In his final at-bat he narrowly missed hitting his second home run of the night. Swisher is also having a productive August. He is 27-for-85 (.317) with five home runs and 18 RBIs. He is now hitting .273 with 19 homers and 72 RBIs in his push for a lucrative new contract in 2013.
- The team clicks when they get big hits with runners in scoring position. When the team struggles, they don’t get those hits. Tonight they had a chance to run Kluber out of the game early and failed. While Jeter and Swisher were a combined 5-for-8 (.625), the rest of the lineup was 4-for-27 (.149).
- Chavez had been red hot for a long period of time, but he was 0-for-4 with there strikeouts on Friday. He is hitless in his last 12 at-bats with six strikeouts. The league seems to pitching him differently and Chavez has not adjusted.
- Cano’s double-play grounder in the second inning marked the 17th time this season he has grounded into a twin-killing this season, one behind the team leader Jeter. Cano is hitting .158 in his last 10 games with no home runs and no RBIs. His season average has dipped to .304.
Manager Joe Girardi said on Friday that he does not think right-hander Ivan Nova will not be sidelined for a long period of time. Nova was placed on the 15-day disabled list in Thursday with inflammation in his right rotator cuff. He will be examined in New York on Monday by Dr. Christopher Ahmad and David Phelps is expected to make a start in Nova’s place on Tuesday against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Yankees will continue their three-game weekend series with the Indians on Saturday.
The team’s hottest pitcher in Hiroki Kuroda (12-8, 2.96 ERA) will start for the Yankees. Kuroda allowed just one run on four hits in eight innings in a victory over the Boston Red Sox on Sunday. He has 1.39 ERA over his last eight starts. He is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA against the Indians in his career.
The Indians will counter with right-hander Justin Masterson (9-11, 4.73 ERA). Masterson allowed seven runs on nine hits in a road loss to the A’s on Sunday. He is 2-3 with a 3.31 ERA lifetime against the Bronx Bombers.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.