NEW YORK -- Todd Hollandsworth knew the numbers: 3-for-39, 0-for-19 -- a slump of rather substantial dimensions. Still, he broke out of his skid Thursday with a double and a homer, driving in four runs in Cleveland's 8-4 victory over the New York Yankees.
"He's got a lot of pop," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "He's strong and his timing is a little better as he plays a little more."
Hollandsworth figures to get more swings now that the Indians have placed outfielder Casey Blake on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his side. And that's fine with Hollandsworth.
"You feel more comfortable the more time you're out there," he said. "I look at this as an opportunity."
His first chance came in the second inning when he delivered the third of three straight doubles against Yankees starter Mike Mussina (8-2) for a quick Cleveland lead. Ronnie Belliard and Jhonny Peralta, who snapped his own 0-for-17 slide, started the rally with doubles and had seven hits between them. Hollandsworth's double made it 2-0.
"I was just trying to hit the ball hard, act out a game plan," Hollandsworth said.
So was Mussina.
"I don't care what the numbers say," he said. "The bottom of the lineup really beat me up today. These guys are professional hitters. I tried to make the best pitches. When I made a mistake, they jumped on it."
Mussina's biggest mistake came in the sixth, again to Hollandsworth. The right-hander retired the first two batters, but hits by Belliard and Peralta brought up Hollandsworth.
New York manager Joe Torre visited Mussina on the mound and was convinced his pitcher could get the third out. It never happened. Hollandsworth hit a 1-0 pitch into the black batter's eye section of the bleachers in right-center, becoming the 11th opposing player to reach that area of Yankee Stadium since it was remodeled 30 years ago.
"It was a slider or a cutter," Hollandsworth said. "He tried to get it away and didn't."
The home run made it 6-1, a comfortable lead for Cliff Lee (5-5), who won for just the third time since April 26. Lee limited the Yankees to five hits -- three of them homers -- over 6 2/3 innings. Melky Cabrera had his first career home run in the fourth inning and Alex Rodriguez and Bernie Williams connected against Lee in the seventh.
Rodriguez's homer was sandwiched between a pair of strikeouts on a 1-for-4 day that left him with three hits in his last 20 at-bats and dropped his batting average to .277. It also left Yankee Stadium fans booing him again.
"Whatever you want to say, the way I'm going now, you'd probably be right," Rodriguez said. "Go ahead and rip away."
The homers cut New York's deficit to 6-3. In the eighth, the Yankees loaded the bases with none out but managed just one run on a grounder by Jason Giambi. Fausto Carmona struck out Rodriguez and Jorge Posada, leaving the potential tying runs stranded at second and third.
The Indians tacked on two more in the ninth on RBI hits by Victor Martinez and Belliard, who scored three times.
Cleveland, which improved to 3-14 at Yankee Stadium since the start of 2002, won for only the fourth time in 12 games overall.
- Yankees pitcher Randy Johnson was suspended five games by the commissioner's office for intentionally throwing at Cleveland's Eduardo Perez the night before. Torre was suspended for one game. Johnson and Torre were fined as well. Johnson is expected to appeal. Torre will serve his suspension Friday night, when the Yankees open an interleague series in Washington.
- Indians LF Jason Michaels made a diving catch to rob Johnny Damon of a hit in the first inning and crashed into the fence attempting to catch Williams' homer in the seventh. Michaels left the game with a sprained right ankle.
- Yankees 2B Robinson Cano extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a double in the ninth.