After bouncing back from his roughest outing of the season, CC Sabathia gets another chance to dominate his former team.
Coming off his first victory in more than a month, the left-hander looks to continue his success against Cleveland and help the New York Yankees hand the Indians an eighth straight road loss Wednesday.
Sabathia (5-4, 3.71 ERA) was 0-2 with a 4.85 ERA in his first five May starts and allowed a season-high seven runs in seven innings of an 8-3 loss at Tampa Bay on May 26.
However, he ended the month on a high note, giving up a run and matching a season high with 10 strikeouts over 7 1-3 innings in Friday's 4-1 win over Boston.
His fastball hit 94 mph, something that has not happened often during his recovery from offseason elbow surgery.
"When I was younger, I (focused on velocity), I thought that was the way I was getting guys out," Sabathia said. "But as I got older I know it's more location than it is velocity."
Sabathia is 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA in six starts against the Indians (30-28). The only run he allowed in winning his last two matchups came on a homer by Asdrubal Cabrera , and he's struck out 20 over 14 1-3 innings in those outings versus the team he spent his first seven-plus seasons.
He won't have to worry about facing Cabrera, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a strained right quadriceps suffered during a 7-4 loss in the opener of this series Monday.
Cleveland remained competitive without its shortstop Tuesday, but Mark Teixeira 's three-run homer highlighted a four-run third as New York won 4-3.
The Yankees (33-25) dropped seven of eight before winning the first two of this three-game set. New York has won 24 of 32 against the Indians, taking 12 of 14 in the Bronx.
Cleveland, which has lost 11 of 15, could see its struggles persist if Teixeira continues to find his form since returning from a wrist injury. He has recorded three of his four hits in 15 at-bats this season in this series, including both homers and all seven RBIs.
Teixeira hit a grand slam Monday.
"Big home run by Tex. That's two nights in a row," manager Joe Girardi said. "He's an RBI machine."
Drew Stubbs hit a three-run shot Tuesday and had two of the four hits for the Indians, who have been outscored 71-30 while losing five in a row and 10 of 11 at Yankee Stadium.
Ex-Yankee Nick Swisher went 0 for 4 for the third straight game and is 1 for 21 with seven strikeouts in his last six.
"I'm always up for the challenge of playing here and playing against the Yankees," Swisher said. "We aren't playing our best right now and we have to take a look in the mirror and turn things around."
Rain cut short scheduled Cleveland starter Corey Kluber 's last outing after two innings Friday against the Rays. The right-hander was 1-1 with a 3.32 ERA in his previous three starts.
Kluber (3-3, 4.36) gave up a run and struck out six over five innings while not receiving a decision in a 3-1 loss in his only appearances against the Yankees on Aug. 24. Teixeira struck out twice in three at-bats versus Kluber.
|June 04, 2013||Asdrubal Cabrera||15-Day DL||Right quadriceps strain|
|June 03, 2013||Asdrubal Cabrera||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained right quad|
|May 30, 2013||Ryan Raburn||Day-to-Day||Left game - lower right leg cramp|
|May 27, 2013||Chris Perez||15-Day DL||Right shoulder soreness|
|May 26, 2013||Chris Perez||Day-to-Day||Left game - Right shoulder discomfort|
|May 01, 2013||Vinnie Pestano||15-Day DL||Right elbow tendinitis|
|New York Yankees|
|June 01, 2013||Chris Stewart||Day-to-Day||Left game - dehydration|
|May 25, 2013||Curtis Granderson||15-Day DL||Broken left pinkie finger|
|May 24, 2013||Curtis Granderson||Day-to-Day||Left game - Broken left pinkie finger|
|May 24, 2013||David Phelps||Day-to-Day||Left game - Right arm injury|
|May 17, 2013||Andy Pettitte||15-Day DL||Strained left trapezius muscle|
|May 17, 2013||Andy Pettitte||15-Day DL||Strained left trapezius muscle|
NEW YORK (AP) -- CC Sabathia preferred the way he finished off Wednesday's game to the way he started it. And he was perfect for nearly his first five innings.
The Yankees' ace struck out nine and pitched his first complete game of the year to give his busy bullpen a rest and help New York finish off a sweep of the Indians with a 6-4 win over Cleveland.
The Yankees' top two relievers, closer Mariano Rivera and setup man David Robertson had each pitched an inning the last two nights, and the rest of the bullpen had seen a good amount of use, too, with five pitchers getting more than seven innings of work the last two days.
"We really needed it," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I didn't really want to use Mo, but I would have with two outs in the ninth."
Sabathia made that unnecessary with a 1-2-3 ninth, his first clean inning since the fourth. Travis Hafner and Brett Gardner homered early for Sabathia, who didn't look as if he would need much help at all after retiring his first 14 batters.
"It's just the way we would draw it up," Gardner said. "He looked real good. He had no-hit stuff."
Sabathia said he didn't even notice he was perfect until he heard fans cheering in appreciation. He was happier to close out the game himself.
"I'm still trying to get a feel for the game," in the fifth, Sabathia said. "Probably (would have noticed in) another inning or two."
New York swept the Indians in three games to finish a homestand that began with two losses to the Mets and a 1-2 series against Boston. The Indians were swept in their only visit to the Bronx last season, too.
Hafner, who was Sabathia's teammate in Cleveland when the Indians beat the Yankees in the 2007 AL division series, hit a two-run homer in the first inning off Corey Kluber (3-4), and Gardner added a three-run shot in the second following Chris Stewart 's RBI single.
It was enough for Sabathia, who threw three straight balls to leadoff hitter Michael Bourn , then looked dialed in. He struck out the side in the third, as well as the leadoff hitter in the fourth.
Sabathia (6-4) did not allow a baserunner until Mike Aviles singled cleanly with two outs in the fifth inning, then he looked more pedestrian.
"He was really spotting it up," Cleveland's Nick Swisher said of his former New York teammate. "I mean, you go into the batter's box and you're used to seeing 94-95 mph, and all of a sudden, you're seeing these back door breaking balls coming at you, just - bam - right on the corner."
Cleveland put together a couple of runs in the sixth, on three straight singles capped by Jason Kipnis ' run-scoring hit off first baseman Mark Teixeira 's glove. Nick Swisher added a second run when he reached on a fielder's choice.
Yan Gomes hit a two-run shot off Sabathia in the seventh inning to get the Indians within two runs.
Kluber was rocked early, but gathered himself enough to make it through six innings with seven hits and a walk. He struck out eight, and only was charged with four earned runs because Bourn couldn't handle Robinson Cano 's sinking liner in center before Hafner's home run.
He allowed three baserunners with seven strikeouts in his last 5 1-3 innings after Gardner's homer.
"I just left a few balls over the heart of the plate a little too much early on. The difference was, I didn't make those mistakes after that," Kluber said. "At that point, I was just trying to go deep in the game, continuing to get outs and just try to keep them there to give us a chance to come back and win."
NOTES: Drug agents are investigating a narcotics delivery to the home of Indians closer Chris Perez , authorities said. No charges have been filed. GM Chris Antonetti says the team had talked with Perez and is gathering information. ... Girardi said he had not discussed MLB's drug-clinic investigation with 3B Alex Rodriguez . Yankees teammates said they would support Rodriguez if any derogatory information came to light. ... The Yankees improved to 14-4 against Cleveland at the new Yankee Stadium. The Indians beat them 10-2 in the new ballpark's first game, in 2009. ... Phil Hughes (2-4) is expected to start for New York in Seattle on Thursday against RHP Aaron Harang (2-5). ... The Indians will go to Detroit and send Ubaldo Jimenez (4-3) up against Justin Verlander (7-4).