NEW YORK – After the Indians learned they will be without Grady Sizemore for at least a month or two, Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter reminded Cleveland that it has more problems than just a missing star center fielder.
Teixeira hit a three-run homer after Jeter sparked a rally with a two-out, two-run single, A.J. Burnett pitched eight innings and the New York Yankees beat the Cleveland Indians 7-3 Sunday.
Cleveland starter Justin Masterson pitched well, too, but the Yankees’ situational hitting – and that three-run homer – made the difference.
“Masterson was tough today,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “On the home run by Teixeira, it was a huge hit for us. We were having a hard time scoring runs. Then we got a couple of guys on base and Jeter came through with a big hit.”
The game turned around over the span of three batters in the seventh inning, which began with Cleveland up 3-0. Masterson, who has struggled to retire left-handed hitters all season, held the lefty-heavy Yankees scoreless through six.
Switch-hitter Swisher and lefty Brett Gardner singled before Jeter, who looked awkward in striking out his previous time at bat, poked a two-out single up the middle.
“The one to Jeter just stayed up,” catcher Lou Marson said. “It was a pretty good piece of hitting.”
Tony Sipp came in to face Curtis Granderson for the second time in this series, and Granderson doubled off the Indians’ lefty again, as he did on Friday night.
Sipp, who had allowed three earned runs in 21 appearances before this weekend, has now given up six in two appearances, retiring only one of the eight batters he faced.
“He’s a guy I’m going to go right after,” Sipp said of Granderson. “Sometimes, he’s going to get me and sometimes I’m going to get him. It hasn’t happened this year.”
Sipp still could have gotten out of trouble by retiring Teixeira. Instead, Teixeira connected for the 250th home run of his career, a blast that landed at the back of the bleachers section in left field.
“I was just trying to hit a ball up the middle,” Teixeira said. “When he hung that slider, I could put a good swing on it.
It was just another headache from a bullpen full of them for Cleveland, which has a 4.72 ERA and five blown saves in 12 chances for its up-and-down relievers, not to mention an ugly ratio of 81 walks to 97 strikeouts.
Burnett (6-2), struck out eight and allowed only one earned run in eight innings. Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth.
Alex Rodriguez was 0-for-3 a day after hitting Cleveland pitcher David Huff in the head with a line drive. Huff showed no symptoms of a concussion before the game, smiling and joking around in the dugout.
Roughly 24 hours after Huff’s injury put a scare into both teams, Rivera had to leap over the barrel of Luis Valbuena’s broken bat to field the ball for the final out.
Juan Miranda added an RBI double in the eighth for New York and Francisco Cervelli hit a sacrifice fly to score another.
Sizemore’s replacement for the time being, Trevor Crowe, hit an RBI single in the third and made a nice play to run down Robinson Cano’s deep drive to end the sixth inning. While Crowe has the job for now, the Indians also may see some more in center from Michael Brantley, who is at Triple-A Columbus.
After making it 1-0, Crowe was caught in a rundown after Burnett threw over to first, catching him off the bag.
The Indians scored two runs in the seventh on shortstop Jeter’s throwing error and Jason Donald’s RBI triple off Swisher’s glove in right field.
Masterson was charged with three runs, striking out eight in 6 2/3 innings.
“I had good control, we made a little mechanical adjustment, things worked out a little bit better,” Masterson said. “I was happy with the overall performance today.”
• WHO: Cleveland at N.Y. Yankees
• TIME: 1:05 p.m.
• WHERE: Yankee Stadium
• PITCHERS: Talbot (6-3, 3.73 ERA) vs. Pettitte (6-1, 2.62)
• TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM