As long as Robinson Cano is healthy, the Bronx Bombers can still blast away.
Cano hit one of New York’s five homers and drove in five runs, Andy Pettitte pitched seven solid innings and the Yankees romped to a 14-1 win Tuesday night over the Cleveland Indians, who had starter Carlos Carrasco ejected from his first appearance since 2011.
With power hitters Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira on the disabled list, New York wasn’t expected to hit as many homers – at least not until those guys get back. But after hitting eight in their first six games, the Yankees have doubled their total since coming to Cleveland.
Cano, who had four hits, arrived for the four-game series batting .130 and without an extra-base hit. In the past two games, he is 7 for 10 with three homers, three doubles and seven RBIs.
”When he hits the ball hard, it’s usually for extra bases and drives people in,” New York manager Joe Girardi said. ”It does take some pressure off. I’ve seen him hit some balls in the last two days, I don’t know how you can hit them any harder.”
The win was the Yankees’ largest in Cleveland since 1931, when they beat the Indians 18-1.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona was worried about Cano getting hot while in Cleveland. In 24 hours, the All-Star second baseman has gone from warm to scorching.
”He’s one of the best hitters in the league,” Francona said. ”It seems like you make a good pitch and he hits a single. You make a mistake and it’s over the fence.”
The 40-year-old Pettitte (2-0) allowed one run and five hits in his second strong start.
Cano hit a two-run double in the second off Carrasco (0-1) and connected for his third homer in two days in the fourth. Following Cano’s two-run shot, Carrasco, who just served a five-game suspension for throwing at a hitter in 2011, drilled Kevin Youkilis in the shoulder with a pitch and got tossed.
Youkilis and Brennan Boesch hit two-run homers and Ichiro Suzuki and Lyle Overbay had solo shots for the Yankees.
Brett Gardner went 4 for 5 with two RBIs and scored three runs. New York had 18 hits – 11 for extra bases.
The seemingly ageless Pettitte carried a shutout into the sixth, when Asdrubal Cabrera hit a leadoff homer. Other than that, the left-hander was in complete control of the Indians, who have been outscored 25-7 in losing their first two home games after a 3-3 start on the road.
Pettitte, the majors’ winningest active pitcher, allowed five hits and walked three to earn victory No. 247, tying him with Jack Quinn for 35th on the career list.
Carrasco was making his first start in two seasons. He made it a memorable one, and possibly his last for a while.
The right-hander hadn’t pitched in the majors since Aug. 3, 2011. He was placed on the disabled list following that outing in Boston, underwent Tommy John surgery the next month and missed last season while recovering. Carrasco recently served his penalty for throwing at Kansas City’s Billy Butler two seasons ago.
Before the game, Francona was excited about seeing Carrasco.
”The kid has gone through a lot to get back here,” Francona said.
He may have to go through some more.
Carrasco gave up five runs in three innings – all with two outs. He retired the first two in the fourth and walked Gardner. Cano then hit a deep shot to left field to make it 7-0. Carrasco then came in high and tight on Youkilis, who had no chance of ducking from the fastball.
As Youkilis headed to first, plate umpire Jordan Baker casually strolled to the mound and tossed the ball back to Carrasco before signaling for him to leave. Carrasco didn’t seem aware that he had been ejected and stood on the infield grass with his teammates. Francona came out to argue with Baker as Girardi watched intently from the top step of New York’s dugout.
After the game, Carrasco apologized to Francona and said he slipped on the pitch to Youkilis.
”I really want to say I’m sorry,” Carrasco said. ”I don’t want to hit anybody. I’m coming from a six-game suspension, I don’t want to do anything real bad and I’m just telling the truth. That’s what happened.”
Francona understood why Carrasco was tossed and why the Yankees were unhappy.
”It didn’t look good,” Francona said. ”I understand the umpire’s viewpoint. I think if you look at the video, he slipped. If you’re on the other side, I understand it. But that’s what happened.”
Girardi wasn’t surprised Carrasco was thrown out.
”That was right in the middle of his back after a home run,” he said. ”No one ever knows if a guy truly does it on purpose. But he just came back from a suspension. If it was on purpose, it’s not a good idea. If it wasn’t, it looks like it was. Either way, it doesn’t look good.”
Carrasco’s ejection led Francona to bring in Brett Myers, who was scheduled to start Wednesday’s game. The Indians have not yet announced Myers’ replacement.
The Yankees showed no mercy, scoring two in the sixth, four in the eighth and one in the ninth off Myers, who was charged with seven runs and three homers.
NOTES: Yankees DH Travis Hafner hit his 100th career homer at Progressive Field on Monday. Only Jim Thome (190) and Manny Ramirez (132) have hit more in the ballpark’s history. Hafner played 10 seasons in Cleveland. … Indians CF and leadoff man Michael Bourn was given the night off by Francona, who said the move had been planned for several days. … Francona is 81-80 in his career managing against the Yankees. He went 6-6 in four seasons with Philadelphia and 75-72 in eight seasons with Boston. … Myers has allowed seven homers in 10 1-3 innings.