Yankees Postgame Notebook: How Sweep it is
CC Sabathia was clearly the star, going the distance in a 116-pitch effort that saw him pitch perfectly through 4.2 innings, wiggle around some trouble in the middle innings, and finish strong by retiring seven of the last eight.
"He was really, really good today, and we needed that nine innings…just a great performance by CC," manager Joe Girardi said. "The first couple runs he gave up came on some well-placed balls, and you give him some credit; (the Indians) didn't hit them hard, but they didn't swing and miss and ended up with some hits, and (CC) didn't give up a hard hit ball until the seventh inning."
"(The complete game) means a lot, especially the way our bullpen has been taxed," Sabathia added. "They've been the strength of our team and those guys have bailed me out this year, so to be able to give them a rest going into the next series is big."
The ace lefty improved to 6-4 on the season with the complete game, and you can read more about his huge afternoon here.
Sabathia was staked to a 6-0 lead early, and made it hold up. It started in the first, as Robinson Cano got aboard on an error by Michael Bourn and Travis Hafner made it hurt, going deep into the right field seats for a 2-0 lead.
"I got a fastball in; I was looking for a good pitch to hit, and it came off the bat nice," Hafner said. "You always want to give any pitcher the lead, but it was nice to give CC the lead there."
"It's nice to have (that early offense); I'm sure the pitchers appreciate it and it's good to give them a little wiggle room," Girardi added.
In the second, Brett Gardner's three-run homer capped the scoring in a four-run frame, as the Yankees touched Kluber for four hits in a five at-bat span.
"We had a runners on first and third, and I was just trying to get the runner home from third with one out," Gardner said. "I got a ball out over the plate with two strikes and was able to put a good swing on it."
Kluber walked the next batter, Cano, but settled down nicely after that, retiring seven in a row and 13 of the final 15 he faced before departing after the sixth.
"He's a guy that's good really good stuff and has been pitching really well lately, and he started mixing his pitches well and located well," Hafner said.
The Yankees held on after that, and as Gardner said, finishing the sweep will make the team's long trip to Seattle tonight that much easier.
"I thought we played okay against Boston, we just had trouble putting runs up…Cleveland's got a good team and they've been playing well, so for us to win all three will make the six-hour flight a lot more enjoyable for sure.
Other news and notes after the Yankees' third straight win:
-Hafner's homer was his second of the series, and he now has three homers, four walks, and six RBI in five games against his former team this year - but he takes no more pride in that line coming against the Indians than if it had come against any other team, saying, "I don't really care who it's against at all, I just want to play well and contribute."
-Lyle Overbay played his third straight game in right field, but was lifted for defensive replacement Ichiro Suzuki in the seventh - a move that may have paid big dividends, as Suzuki tracked down a deep fly ball in the gap with two outs in the top of the eighth and then led off the bottom of the inning with a single.
Overbay said he's feeling much more comfortable out there daily, and most importantly, at age 36, he's proving you can teach an old dog new tricks and having fun learning them.
"I'm getting there, and I think the biggest thing is just repetition and knowing a little bit about how the pitchers are going to throw, so I rely a lot on (Brett Gardner) and Robby (Cano) to position me," he said. "But it's fun; this is the time of my life so I want to enjoy it. I think if I was younger I'd probably be more nervous, but this is icing on the cake."
-Nick Swisher had a tough three days, going 0-for-11 with two walks and two RBI as his team was swept, but in true Swish fashion, he was all smiles in the clubhouse when talking about his return to the Bronx.
"My experience here was awesome, other than the games," he laughed. "Just to see everyone I haven't seen in such a long time was great. This place was so amazing to me, and to be able to come back and relive that - because we only get to do it once a year - that was so great. Everyone here has been so awesome to me and I can't thank them enough."
Of course, Swisher did lament the Indians' 1-6 record against the Yankees this year - again in true Swish style, joking that "we haven't played well against these guys all year, so thank God we're done playing them" - but said that the Indians certainly won't let three tough losses affect their season.
-Last word goes to Girardi, regarding the sweep being a great bounceback for his team:
"I thought (winning all three games) was important. Cleveland's a good team; they swing the bats extremely well, have some power arms in the bullpen, and their starters have done a good job. We hadn't had a lot of success off Masterson and we were able to beat him, and to beat a tough team three in a row to end up (the homestand) 4-4 after starting 1-4 is pretty good."