Nick Swisher reached base four times and drove in all three runs as the Yankees backed CC Sabathia's strong return from the disabled list. Swish got the scoring started by driving in Derek Jeter with a double in the first inning and hit his 100th home run as a Yankee in the seventh to break a 1-1 tie.
The one-two combination at the top of the lineup has really been paying off, as both Jeter and Swisher have seemingly been hitting everything coming their way lately. Jeter doubled to lead off the game and was the recipient of a baseball to the helmet his second time up. The ball knocked his helmet off and drew a rare display of anger out of the Captain. Jeter was fine and stayed in the game to add another hit to his night with a single.
The volume of recent playing time might be starting to catch up to Eric Chavez, who carried the team through a couple of series recently. He struck out three times tonight and just looked pretty helpless at the plate. Chavez himself has admitted that he can't play every day at this point in his career, and the Yankees have certainly needed to push him a bit with A-Rod still on the disabled list. Hopefully he can re-charge and get back to tearing the cover off the ball the way he was before. Additional hitting came from Robinson Cano, who reached base twice, and the combination of Curtis Granderson, Ichiro, and Russell Martin each chipped in a single a piece.
In his first game back from the DL, it looked as though CC Sabathia hadn't missed a beat. He allowed only four hits and one walk in 7.1 innings on his way to striking out nine Indians. His only run allowed came after trying to issue some payback to Asdrubal Cabrera that missed wide and drew warnings from the umpire. On the next pitch, Cabrera showed his appreciation for the gesture by sending a baseball over the wall to tie the game. Sabathia seems to be the guy most willing to put teams in their place for throwing at his fellow Yankees, but it backfired in a pretty unfortunate way this time. Luckily, Swisher's home run made it all a moot point.
David Robertson finished the eighth inning and Rafael Soriano came on to make things interesting in the ninth. He allowed two hits and went 3-0 on Casey Kotchman before they decided to just put him on. Why you wouldn't go right at Kotchman is beyond me. The bases were loaded but Soriano worked out of it, untucked, and the Yankees stretched their division lead to 3.5 games ahead of Tampa Bay after their loss to Oakland.
Tomorrow evening, Hiroki Kuroda will face off against Justin Masterson at 7:05 p.m. as the Yankees look to take the series.