After finishing the regular season as one of the hottest teams in baseball, the Yankees had to feel confident heading into the American League Division Series. By qualifying as the Wild Card team, the Bombers had to travel to Cleveland for the first two games against the AL Central Division champion Indians, who they defeated in all six meetings during the summer. Still, all in all, having set their rotation up with Chien-Ming Wang facing Indians ace C.C Sabathia, Joe Torre’s club had to get at least a split on the road.
After dropping the first game by a lopsided score of 12-3, the pressure is on Andy Pettitte to get even. After taking an early 1-0 lead on a disputed home run by leftfielder Johnny Damon, Wang allowed the Indians to take a two-run lead in the bottom of the first inning. Cleveland, who is back in the postseason after a six-year absence, never looked back and pounded Wang and reliever Ross Ohlendorf for 11 earned runs and 13 hits in only 5 2/3 innings.
Sabathia, who entered the game with a 1-7 record and a 7.13 ERA over his career against New York, was not as sharp as he was during the regular season, but left the game after five innings with a 9-3 lead. He also matched his walks for the entire month of September with six and allowed two solo home runs to left-handed hitters. It was his first time facing the Yankees in three years.
PHOTO: “They did a better job in just about every aspect of the game,” saluted Yankees manager Joe Torre. “No excuses. We got our rear ends kicked.”
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