New York at Cleveland

Scoreboard
N.Y. Yankees (66-51) «0002011015120
Cleveland (65-53)0000001113110

Pettitte helps Yankees finish off season sweep of Indians

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CLEVELAND -- Talk about your pushy New Yorkers.

Strutting into Jacobs Field for the weekend, the Yankees made themselves right at home. They bullied the Cleveland Indians before leaving with three wins and the same confidence that has made them champions many times before.

"I feel like we're the team," Andy Pettitte said.

When weren't they?

Pettitte didn't have much trouble with Cleveland's lame lineup and Jason Giambi homered for the second consecutive day as the Yankees beat the Indians 5-3 to complete a series -- and season -- sweep on Sunday.

Written off in May when they trailed first-place Boston by 14½ games, the Yankees pulled within four of the Red Sox, who lost 6-3 in 10 innings at Baltimore. It's the closest New York has been to the top of the AL East standings since April 24.

The Yankees have won eight of nine, and with an offense mashing like no other, improved to a baseball-best 23-8 since the All-Star break.

"We've come full circle," said Pettitte, 5-1 in his last seven starts. "We were just struggling in all aspects of the game a few months ago. It was no fun losing. There's not a whole lot to complain about right now."

Pettitte (9-7) carried a shutout into the seventh and allowed seven singles in 7 1/3 innings.

The rock-steady 35-year-old, again pitching for the Yankees after three seasons with the Houston Astros, also used his renowned pickoff move to snuff out a Cleveland rally in the seventh inning.

With Pettitte working on a three-hit shutout, the Indians loaded the bases in the seventh on two hits and a walk. With Jason Michaels due up, pitching coach Ron Guidry visited Pettitte and gathered New York's infielders.

That's when first baseman Andy Phillips and Pettitte, who had only talked about a pickoff play, decided to try one.

Before the second pitch to Michaels, Phillips sneaked behind Jhonny Peralta, and Pettitte fired to first to nail the Indians shortstop, who made sure he returned to Cleveland's dugout down the steps at the far end from manager Eric Wedge.

"We had kind of been waiting for the right time to try it," Pettitte said. "It was nice that it worked."

Pettitte gave up a sacrifice fly, but retired Chris Gomez on a groundout to preserve his lead, which could have been less than three runs if not for the devious play.

And while the game-changing play further energized the Yanks, it was another demoralizing moment for the Indians, who despite being 13-17 since the break, trail the Detroit Tigers by just a half-game in the AL Central. The teams open a two-game series on Tuesday.

"It's tough," Casey Blake said. "Confidence is a big part of this game and the guys in this clubhouse don't have a lot of confidence right now. When things aren't going your way, it's tough to maintain that edge.

"You have to be positive. I don't think anyone is panicking. In the past, I think some people might have pushed the panic button. We have to believe we're going to do it."

Giambi connected for a two-run homer off Jake Westbrook (3-7) in the fourth and Melky Cabrera added a solo shot for the Yankees, who went 6-0 against the Indians, their first season sweep since going 9-0 in 1994.

Asleep offensively most of the weekend, the Indians trailed 4-0 before scoring once in the seventh, eighth and ninth.

Mariano Rivera, called on to work out of a jam in the eighth, gave up three hits and a run to open the ninth as the Indians pulled to 5-3. But with none out and runners at second and third, Rivera struck out Asdrubal Cabrera and Grady Sizemore before getting Blake on a routine fly to right for his 19th save in a row.

Pettitte watched the ninth unfold on a TV in New York's clubhouse. But even when Rivera was presumably in trouble, Pettitte was confident.

"Who would you rather have closing it out than Mo?" he said.

Westbrook allowed four runs and nine hits in seven innings, not bad considering the Yankees are averaging 7.6 runs per game since July 12.

Robinson Cano's RBI single made it 3-0 in the sixth, and Cabrera's eighth homer put New York ahead 4-0 in the seventh. Derek Jeter added a run-scoring single with two outs in the ninth.

Notes

  • With his 158th win as a Yankee, Pettitte passed Waite Hoyt for eighth on the club's career list.
  • Indians DH Travis Hafner jogged for the first time "at about 50 or 60 percent" since jamming his knee on a slide into second base in Chicago. With more rehab on Monday, he's hoping to be ready for Tuesday's home game against Detroit.
  • Guidry was ejected by plate umpire Tim McClelland before the top of the eighth.
  • Yankees C Jorge Posada did not return as expected and sat out his third game with a sore neck.
  • Cabrera's career-high hitting streak is at 17 games.
  • Maybe Cleveland's home should be renamed Jeter's Field. His .383 career average (74-for-193) at the Jake is the highest for any player since the ballpark opened in 1994.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Andy Pettitte gets the Yankees to within four games of the first-place Red Sox in the AL East.  (AP)
Andy Pettitte gets the Yankees to within four games of the first-place Red Sox in the AL East. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

J. Giambi
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
Cleveland

V. Martinez
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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New York Yankees
Melky Cabrera, CF5221000 .302
Derek Jeter, SS5011011 .331
Bobby Abreu, RF4000101 .282
Alex Rodriguez, 3B4010010 .300
Hideki Matsui, LF3220102 .296
Jason Giambi, DH4122000 .270
Robinson Cano, 2B4031001 .315
Andy Phillips, 1B4000004 .282
Jose Molina, C4010010 .235
Totals37512523  
Batting
2B - Jose Molina (11, Westbrook)
HR - Melky Cabrera (8, Westbrook), Jason Giambi (9, Westbrook)
RBI - Melky Cabrera (51), Derek Jeter (56), Jason Giambi 2 (26), Robinson Cano (69)
2-OUT RBI - Derek Jeter (28), Jason Giambi 2 (13), Robinson Cano (25)
SB - Melky Cabrera (10, 2nd base off Betancourt/Shoppach)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Rodriguez-Cano-Phillips, Jeter-Cano-Phillips
New York Yankees
Andy Pettitte (W,9-7) 7.1722240 3.93
Luis Vizcaino (H,9) 0.1100000 3.92
Mariano Rivera (S,19) 1.1311020 2.88
HBP - Garko (by Mariano Rivera)
Pitches-Strikes - Andy Pettitte 97-69, Luis Vizcaino 7-4, Mariano Rivera 30-21
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Andy Pettitte 11-4, Mariano Rivera 1-1
Batters Faced - Andy Pettitte 28, Luis Vizcaino 2, Mariano Rivera 8
Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF4010123 .275
Casey Blake, DH5010005 .265
Victor Martinez, C4121001 .304
    Josh Barfield, PR0000000 .246
    Kelly Shoppach, C0000000 .271
Ryan Garko, 1B3010011 .307
Jhonny Peralta, SS3000103 .275
Jason Michaels, LF3111000 .269
Chris Gomez, 3B4020001 .306
Franklin Gutierrez, RF4021011 .282
Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B4110023 .222
Totals34311326  
Batting
2B - Franklin Gutierrez (5, M. Rivera)
SF - Jason Michaels (3)
RBI - Victor Martinez (83), Jason Michaels (34), Franklin Gutierrez (17)
2-OUT RBI - Victor Martinez (30)
SB - Grady Sizemore (29, 2nd base off Pettitte/Molina), Franklin Gutierrez (7, 2nd base off Pettitte/Molina)
CS - Jhonny Peralta (3, 2nd base by Pettitte/Molina)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Gomez-Garko, Peralta-A. Cabrera-Garko
Cleveland Indians
Jake Westbrook (L,3-7) 7944222 5.01
Rafael Perez 1100010 1.77
Rafael Betancourt 1211000 1.67
Pitches-Strikes - Jake Westbrook 118-78, Rafael Perez 14-9, Rafael Betancourt 20-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jake Westbrook 11-6, Rafael Perez 2-0
Batters Faced - Jake Westbrook 30, Rafael Perez 4, Rafael Betancourt 5
Game Information
Attendance - 41612
Game Time - 3:10
Temperature - 80
Umpires - Home - Tim McClelland, First Base - Adam Dowdy, Second Base - Field Culbreth, Third Base - Paul Schrieber