YANKEES 7, INDIANS 1
You ever feel a cooling evening breeze and decide to take a leisurely stroll with loved ones through Central Park? That is pretty much what the New York Yankees felt on Monday as they thoroughly defeated the Cleveland Indians as if they were just taking a walk in the park.
The Yankees erupted to score a pair of runs in each of the first three innings and Hiroki Kuroda threw seven-plus innings of dominant baseball as New York downed Cleveland in their first meeting of the season at Yankee Stadium.
Red-hot Robinson Cano led the offensive barrage against Indians starter Josh Tomlin (3-5) with a two-run double in the first inning and a two-out solo home run in third inning. It was the sixth home run Cano has hit in his last eight games.
Another Yankee swinging a hot bat, Nick Swisher, followed Cano’s solo home run with one of his own to the opposite field in left. It was the fourth time this season the Yankees have hit back-to-back home runs in a game.
Manager Joe Girardi decided to give Curtis Granderson “half a day off” by using him as the designated hitter and starting Dewayne Wise in center-field for the first time this season. Wise responded with a two-run home run off Tomlin in the second inning and an RBI triple in the sixth off reliever Scott Barnes.
Tomlin entered play with a 2-1 record against the Yankees and he had not allowed a home run in his career to the Yankees. The Yankees rose to the occasion and hit three off Tomlin to extend their major-league-leading total to 115.
Tomlin gave up six runs on six hits and two walks and he struck three in only three innings of work.
Meanwhile, Kuroda (7-7) continued his recovery from what was a poor start to the season.
He held the Indians to thre hits and two walks in the first seven innings. But he was touched by a pair of singles by Lonnie Chisenhall and Shin-Soo Choo to begin the eighth.
Clay Rapada came into the game and with one out Jason Kipsis scored Chisenhall with a lined sacrifice fly to right to spoil Kuroda’s shutout.
But Kuroda ended up giving up just the one run on five hits and two walks and he struck out seven.
In his last six starts, the 37-year-old right-hander is 4-1 with a 1.93 ERA and he has not pitched less than six innings in any of those starts.
The Yankees, meanwhile, have now won three games in a row after losing three in a row to snap a 10-game winning streak.
With the victory, the Yankees improved their season ledger to 44-28. They also moved three games up on the second-place Baltimore Orioles in the American League East. The Indians fell to 37-35.
- Over his last eight games, Cano is 10-for-28 (.357) with six home runs and nine RBIs. Cano has raised his season average to .302 and he now has 17 home runs and 39 RBIs. His double in the first also came with runners in scoring position. Cano is still last among all the regulars in hitting just .164 with RISP.
- Swisher has been on a hitting binge of his own lately. In his last 10 games since June 12, Swisher is 14-for-35 (.400) with three home runs and nine RBIs. During that span he has raised his season average from .250 to .268 and he still leads the Yankees in RBIs with 46.
- Kuroda has been a different pitcher since May 21 when he was 3-6 with a 4.56 ERA. Since that time he has given up just nine runs on 32 hits and 10 walks and struck out 35 batters in his last 42 innings. He has been the Yankees’ best starting pitcher over that stretch and perhaps he really is worth the one-year, $10 million contract the Yankees offered to him this winter.
There was nothing to complain about in this contest. Kuroda was sensational, the offense got rolling early and often and Derek Jeter, Cano and Swisher flashed some serious leather in the field behind Kuroda. This is what makes watching the Yankees a joy.
Besides resting Granderson’s legs, Girardi also chose to rest Alex Rodriguez for the third time this season and started Eric Chavez at third base. In addition, Chris Stewart drew his second consecutive start behind the plate because Russell Martin is still nursing stiffness in his lower back. Martin would have been available to catch in an emergency but Girardi opted to give his starting catcher another day off to rest his back. Martin could start on Tuesday. . . . Cano’s hot streak at the plate corresponds with him also finding out on Monday that he had overtaken Ian Kinsler of the Texas Rangers in the most recent voting for the starting second baseman for the American League All-Star team. Jeter and Granderson are also in line to start, according to the voting. There are only three days left to vote.
The Yankees will continue their three-game home series with the Indians on Tuesday.
Right-hander Phil Hughes (7-6, 4.94 ERA) will get the start for the Yankees. Hughes would much rather forget his last start when the Atlanta Braves pounded him for four home runs in 4 1/3 innings and he became the first Yankees starter to pitch less than six innings in June. He is 2-1 with a 3.52 ERA in his career against the Indians.
The Indians will start right-hander Justin Masterson (4-6, 3.98 ERA). Masterson tossed a complete-game victory in his last outing against the Cincinnati Reds. He struck out nine in that game. He is 2-2 with a 2.76 ERA in his career against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast locally by MY9.