Worst loss ever
Vizquel goes 6-for-7 as Indians rout Yankees 22-0
Posted: Tuesday August 31, 2004 10:48PM; Updated: Wednesday September 1, 2004 11:36AM
NEW YORK (AP) -- With an epic defeat, the New York Yankees' hold on first place in the AL East became increasingly tenuous.
Omar Vizquel got six hits to tie the American League record for a nine-inning game and the Cleveland Indians routed New York 22-0 Tuesday night in the largest loss in the 101-year history of the Yankees.
Cleveland matched the largest shutout win in the major leagues since 1900, set by Pittsburgh against the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 16, 1975.
"It's obviously embarrassing," Yankees catcher Jorge Posada said in words repeated by several teammates.
Yankees owner George Steinbrenner watched his team fall in record fashion, then refused to answer questions as he left the ballpark.
Cleveland's runs total seemed to spin by on the scoreboard as fast as the symbols on a slot machine. New York's AL East lead, which stood at 10 1/2 games on the morning of Aug. 16, was cut to 3 1/2 games by Boston, which beat Anaheim 10-7 for its 19th win in 23 games.
"Sure, we're aware of where they are and what they're doing, but you can't lose perspective," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "It really wasn't much fun watching anything, our scoreboard or theirs."
New York had never lost by more than 18 runs, falling 24-6 at Cleveland on July 29, 1928, and 19-1 at home against Detroit on June 17, 1925. Previously, the Yankees' biggest shutout loss was 15-0 at home against the Chicago White Sox on May 4, 1950.
"The way Cleveland played tonight, we'd better worry about Cleveland, not about Boston," Alex Rodriguez said.
"It's good to see your offense to that," Westbrook said. "It's good for them. It's great for your team."
Cleveland, which had season highs for runs and hits (22), set a team record for largest shutout win, topping its 19-0 rout of Boston on May 18, 1955.
Vazquez, his faced bowed and wiping sweat off his face, walked off the field to boos after 1 1-3 innings, matching the shortest start of his career. Vazquez gave up six runs, and the Indians then scored seven off Tanyon Sturtze and three against C.J. Nitkowski.
"I thought I had good stuff today coming into the game," said Vazquez, 2-4 in eight starts following New York losses. "It's one of the worst games ever in my seven-year career."
Cleveland, which moved back over .500 at 67-66, scored three runs in each of the first three innings, then added six more in the fifth. Every Indians batter had scored by the fifth and the top eight batters in the order all had RBIs.
Vizquel had a chance for a seventh hit, but flied out in the ninth.
"Every at-bat, you try to do what fits the situation," he said. "I just happened to put the ball in play every time."
New York, booed early and often by the crowd of 51,777, has lost five straight home games for the first time since May 2003. Its season is beginning to resemble a mirror image of 1978 -- when the Yankees dropped to fourth place and trailed the Red Sox by 14 games after play on July 19, then rebounded to win the AL East in a one-game playoff.
The largest lead held by a team that failed to finish first was 11 games by the 1995 California Angels, according to the Elias Sport Bureau.
New York and Boston have a pair of three-game series left, at Yankee Stadium from Sept. 17-19 and at Fenway Park from Sept. 24-26.
Second baseman Miguel Cairo made a mistake in the first, when he picked up Matt Lawton's one-out grounder and threw to second, where he failed to get the out. Vazquez walked Martinez, gave up the triple to Hafner, and the rout was on.
Cleveland, which had lost 11 of 14 since moving within a game of AL Central-leading Minnesota on Aug. 14, began the night seven games behind the Twins.
"Our goal is to make a final run at this thing," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "We're playing the teams we need to play to do it, and this certainly doesn't hurt."
Notes: The previous AL player with six hits was Detroit's Carlos Pena on May 27 at Kansas City. Jorge Orta had been the last Cleveland player with six hits in a nine-inning game, on June 15, 1980, against Minnesota. ... Vazquez also lasted 1 1-3 innings on April 14, 1998, for Montreal against Milwaukee.