Cano's homer lifts Yanks to fifth straight win

Cano's homer lifts Yanks to fifth straight win

Cano's homer lifts Yanks to fifth straight win
NEW YORK -- On a day when the Yankees lost ace CC Sabathia to the 15-day disabled list before their matinee with the Indians and starter Andy Pettitte for at least the next six weeks to a fractured ankle suffered during it, the offense proved willing to carry the load.

Mostly, it was Robinson Cano.

The second baseman continued his torrid June, starting with a single -- the first hit off Cleveland starter Ubaldo Jimenez on Wednesday -- and scoring New York's first run, then belting a two-run homer to left field to give the Yankees a lead en route to their 5-4 win and a three-game sweep at Yankee Stadium.

"I said this has been a resilient club, and you get a couple big hits by [Eric] Chavez today, a big hit by Robbie Cano," said manager Joe Girardi. "Chavez did an excellent job today filling in. It's what you have to do. It's a long haul, and you're going to go through your injuries. You have to find a way to get through them."

The Yankees found their way in their slugging second baseman Cano and Chavez, a bench player who played first base to give Mark Teixeira a partial day off as the designated hitter. Chavez drove in Cano and Raul Ibanez with a fourth-inning double, then plated Teixeira with a single in the eighth.

"I'm better off with the days rest," said Chavez, who has an RBI in four of his past seven games played. "If I play every day, I'm going to get worn down and not be productive, so this is the best thing for me."

But Cano is a staple of the Yankees' lineup, and he showed why. The leader among second basemen in All-Star Game balloting belted his second homer of the series, seventh in the past 10 games and 10th of the month. He is hitting .345 (30-for-87) in June, with 20 runs scored and 18 driven in over 24 games.

Jimenez threw the very pitch he wanted in the fifth inning with a 1-2 count against Cano, and the left-handed hitter sent it opposite field into the seats to give New York a 4-3 lead.

"We were trying to throw a backdoor slider, and it was. It was a backdoor slider, and it was even off the plate -- I saw the replay," Jimenez said. "He was able to just to hang in there. You could even see he hit it with one arm, and he hit it out."

It let a patchwork bullpen effort off the hook after Pettitte took a Casey Kotchman comebacker off his left ankle in the fifth inning. Pettitte threw a handful of warmup pitches under the watchful eyes of Girardi and remained in the game for one last strike to Lou Marson before limping off the mound and to the clubhouse.

The Yankees diagnosed it as a fractured ankle and placed Pettitte in a walking boot with crutches, but they do not expect him to require surgery. The 40-year-old left-hander, who made his ninth start of the season after returning from retirement in May, will miss a minimum of six weeks with the injury.

"I just figured I'd figure out a way to get through the inning," Pettitte said. "I knew I couldn't push off like I wanted to, so I thought I'd just go the other direction with it -- throw it slower than slow. That first pitch I threw, I pushed off and there was a lot of pain shooting straight down through my foot as soon as I did that. I knew I wasn't going to be able to throw another pitch."

He was one of four Yankees pitchers that inning, handing it over to Cody Eppley, who gave way to Clay Rapada before Freddy Garcia finished the frame.

Girardi announced before the game that Garcia would start Friday in place of Sabathia, who landed on the DL with a left adductor strain and is expected to remain there for the minimum 15 days, unless the Yankees needed Garcia the next two days. After Pettitte's injury, they did.

"I felt I needed to try to win the game, and Freddy did an outstanding job," Girardi said. "He's one of the reasons we won today."

The right-hander threw 32 pitches over 2 1/3 innings of work, retiring all 10 batters he faced. He bridged the gap from Pettitte to the back end of the bullpen, allowing David Robertson to pitch a scoreless eighth and Rafael Soriano to pick up his 17th save, despite allowing a run on a bases-loaded walk.

Once Garcia's day ended in front of 45,099, he threw 30 more pitches in the batting cage beneath the Stadium, strengthening his arm for a start Monday in place of Pettitte. And he knows regardless of how he fares in his first start in two months, the offense is more than capable of supporting him.

"Until the All-Star break, there's going to be four starts where guys have to fill in," Girardi said. "If we have to score more runs, we'll score more runs."

Steven Miller is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.