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Sat, Aug 25, 2012 - 7:05 PM ET
 

Yankees-Indians Preview

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The New York Yankees avoided matching their longest losing streak of the season with help from a solid pitching performance.

That's something they've come to expect from Hiroki Kuroda lately.

The right-hander looks to help send the reeling Cleveland Indians to their second double-digit losing streak in the last month Saturday night at Progressive Field.

The Yankees ended a three-game skid and - coupled with Tampa Bay's loss to Oakland - extended their AL East lead to 3 1/2 games with a 3-1 victory over Cleveland on Friday.

Nick Swisher went 3 for 4 with a two-run homer and CC Sabathia allowed a run and four hits in 7 1-3 innings against his former team to help New York (73-52) improve to 4-0 against the Indians in 2012.

Derek Jeter was hit in the head with a pitch by starter Corey Kluber but remained in the game and had two hits and scored twice.

"Nobody wants to get hit in the head," Jeter said. "There's pitching inside and then there is going up there. I'd like to hope he was just a kid trying to pitch inside. But that is a dangerous area to be doing it."

Swisher commended the Yankee captain for shaking it off.

"I heard it and closed my eyes,'' Swisher said. "Then I looked and he was walking around. What a champ. It didn't faze him at all. That could have been serious.''

New York starters have a 1.03 ERA this season against the Indians, and Kuroda held them to one run in seven innings of a 7-1 victory June 25.

Kuroda (12-8, 2.96 ERA) has been even better in his last two outings, tossing a two-hit shutout against Texas on Aug. 14 before giving up one run and four hits in eight innings of a 4-1 win over Boston on Sunday.

He's 4-1 with a 1.39 ERA over his last seven starts.

"This is how good he's been," manager Joe Girardi said after Kuroda beat the Red Sox. "He has been on a tremendous roll for us and the consistency of his sinker and slider is really the factor."

Kuroda will look to stay hot while sending Cleveland to a 10th consecutive defeat, which would mark its second skid of at least 10 losses since July 27.

The Indians (54-71) have dropped 22 of 26 while being outscored by 89 runs, scoring a single run in each of their last three contests. Asdrubal Cabrera's fourth-inning homer accounted for their only production Friday.

Cleveland had runners at second and third with nobody out in the ninth before Rafael Soriano escaped with his 32nd save.

"We played pretty decent tonight and had our chances offensively,'' manager Manny Acta said. "Still, you need to execute better than we did.''

Justin Masterson is the last Indians pitcher to win a game, tossing six scoreless innings in a 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Aug. 13. The right-hander, though, gave up seven runs in 5 2-3 innings of a 7-0 defeat to Oakland on Sunday.

Masterson (9-11, 4.73) is 2-2 with a 2.81 ERA in five career starts against the Yankees despite allowing four runs in six innings of a 6-4 loss June 26.

Jeter is 7 for 19 lifetime off Masterson, who has a 3.27 ERA at home.

Tagged: Indians, Yankees, Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher, Hiroki Kuroda, Justin Masterson

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