Yankees, Indians set to play two in Cleveland

7:04 AM, May 13, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - The New York Yankees pounded the Cleveland Indians the last time the two clubs met in a rain-shortened series and are set to square off again Monday in a doubleheader from Progressive Field.

The Yankees opened the early April series with an 11-6 win and disposed of the Indians in the second contest by a 14-1 score. The next two games scheduled for April 10-11 were postponed due to inclement weather and now New York will play its first doubleheader of the season.

New York has won seven of the last eight meetings with Cleveland and is coming off a three-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals. The Yankees won their fifth in a row with Sunday's 4-2 victory, as Robinson Cano and Vernon Wells both homered and finished with two RBI. Wells led the Yanks with three hits and has homered in back-to-back games with four RBI in that time.

Hiroki Kuroda picked up his fifth win (5-2) of the season and limited the hosting Royals to two runs in 7 2/3 innings. David Robertson came on in relief of Kuroda to get the final out of the eighth and future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera collected his 15th save with a scoreless ninth.

"These guys have gotten it done, different ways, different guys every night," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "The pitching has been very, very good. We've continued to lose players during the season. These guys have done a great job."

The AL East-leading Yankees are one game ahead of Baltimore and two in front of Boston for division supremacy and, like Girardi said, have been getting the job done in several ways from several different players. With a handful of major contributors out with injuries, the Yankees are hoping to maintain the trend going forward.

Outfielder Curtis Granderson is still out because of a broken right forearm and has been inching closer to a return with rehab assignments in the minor leagues. A timetable for his return is still undecided.

"I keep telling you, when he says he's ready that's when we're going to call him up," Girardi told the club's website. "I know he feels good, but he's got to feel comfortable at the plate. ... It's probably worth it to have a call with him sometime tomorrow to see where he feels he's at. That will give us a better idea."

The Yankees will return to the Bronx this evening for a six-game homestand versus Seattle and Toronto. Before that happens, David Phelps and prospect Vidal Nuno will take the mound in Monday's doubleheader. Phelps gets the nod in the opener and is 1-1 with a 5.02 earned run average in eight games (2 starts). The right-hander was last in action Wednesday in a 3-2 win at Colorado and tossed six innings of two-run ball for the no-decision.

Phelps has never faced Cleveland and the Yankees have won each of his past three appearances.

Nuno, meanwhile, started four games for the Yankees' minor league affiliate, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, and was 2-0 with a 1.54 ERA. He has pitched 23 1/3 innings for the Triple-A club and the left-hander has a tremendous upside. Nuno did throw three scoreless innings of relief and scattered four hits with two K's and no walks versus Houston on April 29 in a 9-1 loss.

The Indians will be a tough out for the Yankees and have won 12 of their last 14 games, including the last two portions of a three-game weekend road series against the Detroit Tigers.

The AL Central-leading Indians needed 10 innings to take the series from the defending American League champions and recorded a 4-3 victory in 10 frames on Sunday. Mark Reynolds came on as a pinch-hitter in the top of the 10th and singled home Carlos Santana for the go-ahead run with two out.

Cleveland, though, needed some help in the ninth to stay alive and Michael Bourn scored on a Michael Brantley hit with two down in the inning. Bourn got it going by drawing a walk, stealing second and later coming around to score.

"We left some runners out there early," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Against a team like Detroit, that's that game where you come in and say 'God we had chances' but there's something to be said about just keep on playing."

Relief pitcher Rich Hill got the first two outs in the bottom half of the 10th and Cody Allen closed the door for his first save. Zach McAllister started for the Tribe and was reached for three runs -- two earned -- in six innings in the no-decision. Joe Smith threw a scoreless ninth for the win.

"I battled. I didn't feel like I had my best stuff," McAllister said. "I was definitely happy with the way I battled against a good team like this."

The Indians and Tigers are even atop the Central standings with Kansas City just 1 1/2 games off the pace. After this double dip with the Yankees, Cleveland will visit Philadelphia for a pair of games.

Justin Masterson draws the start for the Tribe in Game 1 of the doubleheader and he is 5-2 with a 3.67 ERA in eight starts. He won his last outing on Wednesday in a 4-3 victory over Oakland and allowed three runs in seven innings. Despite having a strong record, Masterson has given up 15 runs in his last three trips to the hill.

In 10 career games (6 starts) against the Bronx Bombers, the right-handed Masterson is 3-3 with a 3.00 ERA.

Young righty Trevor Bauer will toe the rubber for the Indians in the second contest and has made two spot starts this season. He lost at Tampa Bay on April 6 by permitting three runs in five innings of a 6-0 loss, then defeated Philadelphia on May 1 with five shutout innings. Bauer, who made four starts with Arizona last season, has never faced the Yankees.

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