NEW YORK (AP) -- Rookie right-hander Chien-Ming Wang is pitching
like one of the injured veteran hurlers he was called up to
He gave up a home run on his first pitch before settling down
and tossing 6 2/3 effective innings, and the Yankees extended their
winning streak to six games with a 5-4 victory over the Cleveland
Indians on Friday night.
"My control was not too good," Wang said. "The ball was
slippery. It was better after the second inning."
Wang (6-3) took the mound after a 20-minute rain delay, and saw
his first delivery smashed over the right-field fence by Grady
Sizemore. He fell behind 2-0 when Aaron Boone hit an RBI single in
the second, but was helped out by three double plays and won for
the third time in five starts.
"For not having his good stuff, he kept us in the game and
allowed us to do what we did," manager Joe Torre said.
Wang allowed three runs and seven hits, and pitched into the
seventh inning for the fourth time in five outings and for the
ninth time in 13 appearances this season.
"He goes out there and we know seven is easy," Torre said.
"He has been huge for us."
Mariano Rivera pitched an eventful ninth inning for his 19th
save in 21 chances. Rivera, who entered with 23-inning scoreless
streak, allowed Casey Blake's sacrifice fly followed by Boone's
fourth hit of the game, which put runners on the corners with two
outs. Sizemore grounded to first on the next pitch.
New York (45-39) matched its season high of six games over .500,
set when a win over Boston on May 27 boosted the Yankees to 27-21.
They scored four times in the third inning off Cliff Lee (9-4) to
take the lead for good and improved to 4-0 on a homestand that has
two games remaining before the All-Star break.
"We're really starting to come together as a ballclub," first
baseman Jason Giambi said. "Starting pitching has been incredible,
the bullpen has been great, we've been coming up with big hits.
It's nice to see us coming together right before the break."
Giambi slipped coming out of the box on his third-inning single
and left the game as a precaution before the top of the sixth
because he felt tightness in his left leg between his quadriceps
and the hip flexor. He expects to play Saturday.
After allowing one hit and a walk over the first two innings,
Lee barely made it out of the third.
Bernie Williams led off with a walk and Melky Cabrera, in his
second career start, singled him to second. Deter Jeter doubled
just inside the first-base bag to score Williams with New York's
Robinson Cano's RBI groundout tied it at 2 and, after Gary
Sheffield walked, Alex Rodriguez singled in Jeter. One out later,
Giambi continued his hot hitting with an RBI single that scored
Sheffield for a 4-2 lead.
There was bullpen action when Jorge Posada struck out to end the
inning, in which the Yankees batted around.
"He gave us a chance to win the ballgame," Indians manager
Eric Wedge said of Lee. "He had that rough third, but he reached
down and found a way to get through it. He was actually stronger
Cleveland, which lost its fourth straight, got within a run when
Wang threw a two-out wild pitch that scored Jody Gerut in the
fifth. The Indians put runners on first and second with none out,
but Sizemore -- who had hit the first leadoff homer of his career --
grounded into a double play on a 2-0 pitch.
The Indians also started the sixth with a walk, but Victor
Martinez followed with another double-play grounder on another 2-0
count to short-circuit that rally.
New York stretched its lead to 5-3 in the bottom of that inning
when Hideki Matsui led off with a double and scored on Posada's
Matsui has reached base safely in 34 consecutive games, tying
Baltimore's Brian Roberts for the longest streak in the majors this
Wang came back out to start the seventh, despite having thrown
99 pitches. He retired the first two batters, but left after
allowing the third of Boone's four singles. Wayne Franklin came on
and got Sizemore to fly out to right field.
Lee had won three straight decisions, but fell to 7-2 on the
road this season. He allowed five runs and six hits in six innings.
"They did the little things right and got the runs in," Lee
said. "If I could take away the one inning, it was a pretty good
Giambi went 1-for-2 and is 8-for-12 on the homestand,
raising his average to .276. ... Yankees setup man Tom Gordon was
diagnosed with mild tendinitis in his right shoulder and is day to
day. ... LHP Darrell May had his contract purchased from Triple-A
Columbus and will start for the Yankees on Saturday. OF Bubba
Crosby was optioned to the Clippers. ... Cleveland RHP Rafael
Betancourt, already on the DL, was suspended 10 days by major
league baseball for testing positive for performance-enhancing