The New York Yankees were happy to get CC Sabathia back and delighted not to lose Derek Jeter.
Sabathia came off the disabled list and pitched well, Nick Swisher drove in three runs and Jeter shook off being beaned as New York broke a three-game losing streak by beating the Cleveland Indians 3-1 on Friday night.
”He took it like a champ,” Swisher said of Jeter. The venerable Yankees captain was hit in the left side of his batting helmet by a pitch from rookie Corey Kluber in the second inning.
”I heard it and closed my eyes,” Swisher continued. ”Then I looked and he was walking around. What a champ. It didn’t faze him at all. That could have been serious.”
Cleveland lost its ninth straight as ex-Indian Sabathia (13-3) worked 7 1-3 strong innings. The left-hander had a perfect game until Asdrubal Cabrera homered with one out in the fourth. Sabathia walked one, struck out nine.
”He really knows how to pitch,” manager Joe Girardi said. ”I was pleasantly surprised how solid his command was. You don’t throw for 15 days, you don’t always get that.”
Swisher broke a 1-1 tie with his 19th homer, off Cody Allen (0-1) in the seventh.
”I knew it was going to come at some point, but I hate that it happened in a situation like this,” Allen said after yielding the first runs of his career, in his 13th outing.
Cleveland loaded the bases in the ninth against Rafael Soriano, but the right-hander got his 32nd save in 34 chances.
”We won, we won,” Soriano said. ”That is what counts.”
With runners on second and third, Soriano struck out Matt LaPorta and got pinch-hitter Ezequiel Carrera to pop out to Jeter at shortstop. Soriano went to 3-0 on pinch-hitter Casey Kotchman before issuing an intentional walk to load the bases.
Pinch-hitter Jack Hannahan then grounded out to first as Cleveland continued its freefall fade. The Indians have been outscored 175-86 in losing 22 of their last 26.
”We played pretty decent tonight and had our chances offensively,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. ”Still, you need to execute better than we did.”
Sabathia made his first start since defeating Detroit on Aug. 8. He then went on the disabled list with an inflamed left shoulder, but showed no rustiness against the Indians, who dropped to 10-30 since the All-Star break.
”I felt good, strong, but we’ll see how I feel in a couple of days,” Sabathia said.
Jeter helped him with two fine plays at short minutes after the Yankees got quite a scare when their leader was hit in the head. The force of the impact knocked Jeter’s helmet off and staggered the 38-year-old as a contingent of Yankees fans went from chanting, ”Der-ek Je-ter” to eliciting a shocking groan. Jeter was visibly upset as he went to first base.
”Of course, I was angry,” said Jeter, who had two hits and scored twice.
”Nobody wants to get hit in the head. 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.
”It’s pretty scary when it is coming at you. Did it hurt? No, it felt good. You get hit with a 90-something fastball and it is going to hurt.”
Jeter had one thing to say to Kluber: ”I told him, `Be careful when you throw up and in.’ ”
Moments later, Jeter went deep into the hole at short to field a grounder by Carlos Santana and throw him out. With two outs, Jeter ranged all the way into short left field to grab a grounder by LaPorta. He got that out, too, when first baseman Mark Teixeira scooped his low throw.
”Huge plays,” Sabathia said. ”That’s Derek.”
New York loaded the bases in the first two innings, but scored only once. Jeter doubled to open the game and scored on a double by Swisher.
Cabrera’s 14th homer tied it at 1, hitting the first pitch after Sabathia uncorked a pitch behind him, the big lefty’s way of retaliating for Jeter.
”It just got away,” Sabathia said, smiling. ”I was trying to cut it. It really cut.”
Kluber struck out a career-high six over five innings in his best start in five outings since being called up.
NOTES: The Yankees’ previous 12 homers came with the bases empty until Swisher connected. … Jeter went 2 for 4 and has a .365 career average at Progressive Field, best by any player with 115 or more at-bats at the park. … Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez (broken left hand, 15-day DL) and LHP Andy Pettitte (left ankle fracture, 60-day DL) are with the team. … LaPorta was recalled from Columbus and RHP Frank Herrmann optioned to the Triple-A club. … Girardi said RHP David Phelps likely will start Monday against Toronto in place of RHP Ivan Nova, put on the DL Thursday with an inflamed rotator cuff. … Indians RHP Justin Masterson (9-11) faces Yankees RHP Hiroki Kuroda (12-8) Saturday.