- Wallace Matthews, ESPNNewYork.com
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What it means: That the world is spinning correctly on its axis again. CC Sabathia is back, at least against the lowly Indians, and so are the Yankees, who win their first game this week, 3-1.
Ace is high: Sabathia made a triumphant return, pitching into the eighth inning, allowing just four hits and striking out nine. His only misstep was a sinker to Asdrubal Cabrera in the fourth that landed beyond the center-field fence. The Yankees needed a big performance out of their ace, and Sabathia provided it. He escaped a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the fifth by getting Jason Kipnis to ground to first, and wriggled free after the Indians got runners on first and second with one out in the sixth by striking out Michael Brantley and Matt LaPorta.
Nick of time: Having stranded six runners in scoring position in the first six innings, the Yankees finally scored a runner from second when Nick Swisher deposited a Cody Allen offering into the right-center field seats with Derek Jeter aboard to snap a 1-1 tie in the seventh. It was the 19th home run of the season for Swisher, who also has 72 RBI.
Jeter beaned: Frightening moment in the second inning when a 92 mph fastball from Corey Kluber ran in on Jeter and smashed, loudly, into the earflap of his helmet, which went flying. Jeter, who appeared angered, stayed in the game after a visit from Joe Girardi and trainer Steve Donohue, but he could be lip-read telling catcher Carlos Santana, "You don't do that." The Indians TV broadcast reported Jeter's helmet cracked in two places from the pitch.
Misfire: CC Sabathia threw his 1-0 pitch behind Cabrera's derriere, a possible retaliation for the Jeter beaning. But it backfired on the Yankees when CC had to come in on 2-0, and Cabrera blasted the fastball over the center-field fence to tie the game at 1 -- and spoil CC's perfect game bid after 10 straight outs.
Missed opportunity: The Yankees hit four rockets off Kluber in the first inning but only came away with one run, despite loading the bases with one out. Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher had back-to-back doubles to the same spot in the right-center gap, accounting for the run, but after sandwiching a Robinson Cano walk and a Curtis Granderson single around a Mark Teixeira line out, neither Eric Chavez (strikeout) nor Russell Martin (fly out to right) could bring another run home.
And another! The Yankees loaded the bases with one out in the second inning, too, and failed to score when Robinson Cano rapped into a 4-6-3. That seemed to settle down Kluber, who retired the next six batters.
Now, this is ridiculous: The Yankees got runners to second and third with one out in the fifth and -- stop me if you've heard this one before -- FAILED TO SCORE. Blame this one partially on third-base coach Rob Thomson, who held Nick Swisher at third on Cano's double high off the left-field fence, but still. Teixeira looked at a curveball for strike three and Granderson fouled out to third and the Yankees had stranded their sixth and seventh baserunners of the game, five of them in scoring position.
Rafael Soriano, untucked: Of course he did, having saved his 32nd game in 34 chances, but not without some sweaty moments. Indians got the tying run to second with one out after two singles and a wild pitch, but Soriano struck out LaPorta, got PH Ezequiel Carrera to pop out and, after intentionally walking PH Casey Kotchman to load the bases, got PH Jack Hannahan to ground to Teixeira to end the game.
What's next: Hiroki Kuroda, the de facto ace of the Yankees' pitching staff, takes his 12-8 record and 2.96 ERA to the hill against RHP Justin Masterson (9-11, 4.73) in the second game of this three-game series, first pitch at 7:05 p.m.