Cliff Lee threw seven sharp innings Wednesday night to beat Chien-Ming Wang in a matchup of unbeaten starters, leading the Cleveland Indians to a 3-0 victory over the New York Yankees.
Lee became the first Indians pitcher to win his first six starts since Greg Swindell in 1988 and lowered his major league-best ERA to a microscopic 0.81. The left-hander has allowed just four earned runs in 44 2-3 innings after a rough 2007 that included a stint in the minors.
Wang (6-1) allowed three runs and five hits in seven innings for the Yankees, who dropped to 3-5 on their nine-game homestand. Hideki Matsui singled in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 16 games, matching a career high.
New York fell to 27-8 in 35 career starts by Wang following a Yankees loss, ending an 11-game winning streak in those games. He fell to 22-7 in those starts.
Victor Martinez had a sacrifice fly in the first inning, Casey Blake singled in a run in the fourth and David Dellucci added an RBI single in the fifth. Dellucci was booed before each of his at-bats after his pinch-hit three-run homer off Joba Chamberlain lifted Cleveland to a 5-3 victory Tuesday night.
The Indians have won the first two of the three-game set to secure their first winning series at Yankee Stadium since June 2001. They improved to 4-2 against New York this season, clinching their first season series win since they went 7-6 against the Yankees in 1992.
Paul Byrd will oppose New York's Mike Mussina on Thursday as Cleveland goes for its first sweep of three games or more in the Bronx since April 1989, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Lee (6-0) set it up with another impressive performance, allowing just six hits and striking out seven. He hasn't walked a batter in his last 28 innings.
Rafael Perez worked the eighth and Rafael Betancourt got three outs for his fourth save, finishing off the seven-hitter.
The matchup between Wang and Lee was the first between two pitchers with at least a 5-0 record since Oakland's Dave Stewart faced Swindell on May 8, 1988, according to Elias. Stewart moved to 8-0 with a four-hitter, beating Swindell and Cleveland 5-1.
Lee will go for his seventh straight win to open the season Monday against Toronto. His fast start would've been hard to predict a year ago, when he began the season on the disabled list, spent some time at Triple-A Buffalo and was left off Cleveland's playoff roster.
"He's doing a better job of staying in his delivery, being consistent with it and commanding the fastball, throwing it where he wants to," Indians manager Eric Wedge said before the game. "If you're able to do that and your arm's working the way it's supposed to work, then your secondary stuff's going to be that much better as well."
The Yankees put runners on first and second with one out in the fifth but Lee struck out Morgan Ensberg and got Jose Molina to fly out to deep right. He fanned Matsui with runners on second and third to end the sixth.
Notes:@ Alex Rodriguez (strained right quadriceps), Jorge Posada (right shoulder) and Phil Hughes (stress fracture in rib) are expected to travel to New York's spring-training facility in Florida on Thursday to continue rehabbing their injuries. Rodriguez ran in the outfield, played catch, fielded grounders and took batting practice before Wednesday night's game. ... Indians 3B Andy Marte singled in the fifth to snap an 0-for-14 skid. ... Martinez went 0-for-3, ending a 15-game hitting streak. The All-Star catcher served as the designated hitter after he was scratched from Tuesday night's game with a stiff neck.