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Published: Sunday, 5/31/2009

Sabathia wins in Cleveland

ASSOCIATED PRESS

CLEVELAND - CC Sabathia won in his return to Cleveland, and the New York Yankees got home runs from Jorge Posada and Nick Swisher in a 10-5 victory over the Indians Saturday night.

Sabathia (5-3) didn't allow a hit until the fifth and worked seven strong innings to beat his former team for the first time since signing a $161 million, seven-year contract with New York as a free agent in December.

The left-hander is 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA in his last five starts. He allowed three runs, five hits and three walks, striking out eight.

Robinson Cano drove in three runs, while Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon had two RBIs apiece as the Yankees opened a 1 1/2-game lead in the AL East over Boston with their 14th win in 17 games.

New York also played its 16th straight errorless game, one short of the major league record set by the Red Sox in June 2006, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Cleveland catcher Victor Martinez fouled a ball off his left knee in the first inning and was replaced. The Indians said X-rays were negative and Martinez, hitting .350 with seven homers and 36 RBIs, is day to day with a bruise.

Sabathia went 106-71 with a 3.83 ERA for Cleveland from 2001-08, including 19-7 with a 3.21 ERA in 2007 when he became the team's first Cy Young Award winner in 35 years. The Indians couldn't sign him to a contract extension a year ago and traded him to Milwaukee in July instead of running the risk of losing him without compensation.

The 6-foot-7, 290-pounder led the Brewers to their first postseason appearance in 26 years before signing with New York.

The Yankees struck quickly against Fausto Carmona (2-5). Posada opened the second with his sixth homer. One out later, Swisher hit his 10th, over the wall in center.

Indians first baseman Ryan Garko and right fielder Shin-Soo Choo made errors in New York's five-run fourth.

Garko's throwing error loaded the bases and Jeter followed with a two-run single. Damon then singled home a run and Choo bobbled the ball, allowing Jeter to go to third.

With two outs, Cano lined a bases-loaded single for two more runs and a 7-0 lead.

Sabathia allowed only one walk until Choo singled off his pitching hand with one out in the fifth. Garko and Jamey Carroll had RBI singles later in the inning to make it 7-2. Choo and Grady Sizemore homered for Cleveland. Carmona gave up four earned runs and eight hits over four innings.

Notes: New York RHP Jason Johnson is OK after suffering a nonbaseball-related ailment while working out at the team's minor league complex in Tampa, Fla., according to a Yankees spokesman. Johnson, who pitched for Cleveland in 2006, is on the Triple-A disabled list with a sore shoulder. He has a history of diabetes and had a small cancerous tumor behind his eye removed this past winter. ... Cano struck out with two runners on to end the first. It snapped his career-high streak without a strikeout at 54 at-bats. ... Indians DH Travis Hafner, on an injury rehab assignment at Triple-A Columbus, didn't play yesterday because of soreness in his right shoulder. ... Cleveland RHP Joe Smith, out since May 2 with a strained right rotator cuff, worked one scoreless inning for Columbus. ... New York 1B Mark Teixeira went 2 for 5 and is 20 for 51 (.392) during a 12-game hitting streak.

Andy Pettitte is expected to make his next scheduled start for the New York Yankees on Wednesday against Texas despite leaving his most recent outing with a strained lower back.

Pettitte was removed in the sixth inning Friday night against the Cleveland Indians.

The left-hander strained his back earlier in the week against the Rangers and slipped on the wet mound a couple of times Friday.

Pettitte played catch Saturday, according to manager Joe Girardi.

"He's still on target," Girardi said. "The progress he made overnight makes me feel good."

Girardi thinks Pettitte might have been over-striding in his delivery Friday night.



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