Bronx, NY – Set up by an early offensive outburst, CC Sabathia went all nine innings and the New York Yankees capped a three-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians with 6-4 victory Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.
Other than a few bad pitches, Sabathia (6-4) was in full control while striking out nine to record his first complete game of the season and 36th of his career.
"It means a lot," Sabathia said about giving the bullpen a day off. "Our bullpen has been taxed a little bit. That's one of the strengths of our team so to get them a rest feels good."
He allowed four runs on seven hits in a 116-pitch effort against his former club, to which he improved his career record against to 4-1 in seven starts.
Travis Hafner clubbed a two-run homer and Brett Gardner added a three-run shot off Cleveland starter Corey Kluber (3-4), who allowed both blasts in the first two innings and was charged with six runs -- four earned -- for the game.
Kluber went on to strikeout eight and lasted six innings, but Cleveland ultimately fell for the sixth time in its seven meetings with New York this season.
Jason Kipnis and Nick Swisher drove in a run apiece and Yan Gomes hit a two- run homer in the setback, the Indians' fourth in a row and 12th in 16 games.
"I think our guys have done a really good job of showing up and playing," said Cleveland manager Terry Francona. "Again, the results the last...whatever, haven't been what we like."
The Yankees' offense looked poised for an explosive performance after putting six runs on the board over the first two frames, but were shut out the rest of the game.
However, that was all the support Sabathia would need.
A moonshot off the bat of Hafner in the first reached the upper deck in right field to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead. It was the former Indian's 10th homer of the season, and seventh in his first 70 at-bats at Yankee Stadium this year.
Kluber lasted just two innings because of a lengthy rain delay in his previous outing, and it looked like he was headed for another short stint after losing control in the second inning.
He gave up a leadoff single to Lyle Overbay and Jayson Nix doubled two batters later to put runners at the corners. Chris Stewart slapped a base hit into left to plate a run before Kluber fell into a 6-0 hole when Gardner ripped a breaking ball for a three-run homer into the right-field seats.
Sabathia retired the first 14 Cleveland batters and scattered just one hit over his first five frames, but the Indians started to break through off their former ace in the sixth.
Drew Stubbs recorded the first of three straight singles for Cleveland and came around on Kipnis' scorching grounder past the glove of first baseman Mark Teixeira.
With runners now on the corners, Sabathia gave up a run on a Swisher groundout to make it 6-2, and the Indians pulled two runs closer on Gomes' shot over the left-field wall in the seventh.
Sabathia didn't let the Indians come any closer, though, by keeping them hitless over the final two frames to go the distance.
The Yankees will make their first trip to the West Coast on Thursday, when they begin a 10-game road swing in Seattle ... New York completed its fifth series sweep of the season ... Overbay made his third career start in right field ... The Indians lost for just the third time in 10 matchups against a former Cy Young Award winner this season ... Cleveland is just 1-11 in its last 12 games at Yankee Stadium ... Indians closer Chris Perez, who is currently on the 15-day disabled list, is reportedly being investigated in connection with a drug-related incident. It was reported on Wednesday that Perez had a package believed to contain marijuana delivered to his house, though no arrest has been made.