for this game

Lee again masterful as Indians blank Yankees

May 8, 2008 - 5:52 AM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

BRONX, New York (Ticker) -- When spring training began, Cliff Lee was not even assured of a spot in the Cleveland Indians' rotation. Based on his first six outings this season, the lefthander has become a front-line starter again.

Lee remained unbeaten by tossing seven sharp innings as the Indians recorded a 3-0 victory over the New York Yankees on Wednesday night.

Victor Martinez lifted a sacrifice fly in the first inning and Casey Blake lined an RBI single in the fourth for the Indians, who have won four of six meetings with the Yankees this season. David Dellucci, who homered as a pinch hitter off rookie Joba Chamberlain in the series opener Tuesday, added a run-scoring single in the fifth.

That was enough support for Lee (6-0), who allowed six hits. The 29-year-old, who went 5-8 with a 6.29 ERA in 20 games in 2007, struck out seven, did not a walk a batter for the fourth time this season and threw 76 of his 103 pitches for strikes while lowering his major league-leading ERA to 0.81.

Lee has allowed an earned run in just two of his six starts this year - both at home.

Besides remaining unbeaten, Lee also continued to find the strike zone. He has issued just two walks this season and none in his last 28 innings, a span of 101 batters.

"When I do get behind in the count, I'll step off the rubber and take a deep breath, take my time and make sure I make a quality pitch," Lee said. "I just make sure I stay out of those 2-0, 3-2 counts. I'm just trying to work ahead and get the hitters out with the least pitches possible."

Lee did that virtually the entire night. He threw first-pitch strikes to 16 of the 27 hitters he faced and did not encounter a 3-0 count until hit penultimate batter in the seventh, which resulted in Morgan Ensberg's infield single.

Lee completed his effort by fanning Jose Molina for his seventh swinging strikeout.

Rafael Perez pitched the eighth and Rafael Betancourt worked a perfect ninth for his fourth save in five opportunities as Cleveland posted its third shutout of the season.

Lee's tremendous start to the campaign has come at a perfect time for Cleveland. Reigning American League Cy Young Award winner C.C. Sabathia has struggled and Fausto Carmona has been inconsistent despite owning a 3-1 record.

"If you would have showed me at the start of the season, I'd probably have had a hard time believing you that that would come true," Lee said. "But that's why you play the game."

It also is occurring after he had to win a spot in the rotation with a solid spring.

Following his injury-filled and inconsistent 2007, Lee won the job by beating out Aaron Laffey and Jeremy Sowers. An 18-game winner in 2005, Lee missed all of spring training and the first month of last season with a strained right abdominal muscle, which led to a brief demotion to the minors.

"He had something to go back to," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. "You don't have the years that he's had in the past without understanding what it takes to be successful and having an understanding of what he needs to do to be personally successful."

Fully healthy, Lee has allowed just four earned runs and 25 hits in 44 2/3 innings.

"He's having an outstanding year," New York captain Derek Jeter said. "Probably the biggest thing for him is his control. He's not falling behind anyone and he's not walking anyone."

On Wednesday, Lee surrendered just one hit through the first four frames and three through five. He gave up a two-out double to Shelley Duncan in the sixth that put runners on second and third but struck out Hideki Matsui on a 76 mile-per-hour curveball to escape unscathed.

"I threw him a couple of fastballs, fastballs away," Lee said regarding Matsui's at-bat. "I felt like he wasn't getting around on it. I didn't want to throw it earlier in the count because I didn't want to speed his bat. It's not a pitch I really want to throw for a strike to him, but if I keep it down like that, it's an effective pitch."

Chien-Ming Wang (6-1) - who lost for the first time at home since July 19 - yielded three runs, five hits and three walks with four strikeouts in seven innings. The Taiwanese righthander pitched seven scoreless frames in a 1-0 triumph at Cleveland on April 27.

Wang lost just the third battle in 20 years between starting pitchers who entered with a 5-0 record or better.

On May 3, 1988, Detroit's Frank Tanana - who was 5-0 - faced Oakland's Dave Stewart, who had six wins without a loss. Five days later, Stewart carried his 7-0 mark into a matchup with Cleveland's Greg Swindell, who was 6-0 at the time.

"That was a really a battle," Molina said of Wednesday's game. "We give up runs and we didn't score runs. That's why we didn't win the game."

The Yankees (17-18), who fell back under .500, were shut out for the third time this season.








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CLEVELAND 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 3 7 0
    NY YANKEES 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: CLE - CLIFF LEE, RAFAEL PEREZ (8TH), RAFAEL BETANCOURT (9TH) AND
    KELLY SHOPPACH
    NYY - CHIEN-MING WANG, KYLE FARNSWORTH (8TH), JONATHAN
    ALBALADEJO (9TH) AND JOSE MO

    May 7 10:12 PM
  • 25
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 20 roots

    Indians 3, Yankees 0  Bot 5, 0 OutsMay 7 8:33 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY DAVID DELLUCCI SCORED ANDY MARTE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D DELLUCCI ON FIRST, G SIZEMORE ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 3
    NY YANKEES 0 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: V MARTINEZ (.344, 0-FOR-1, SF, RBI)

    Indians 3, Yankees 0  Top 5, 0 OutsMay 7 8:29 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CASEY BLAKE SCORED JHONNY PERALTA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C BLAKE ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 2
    NY YANKEES 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: K SHOPPACH (.268, 0-FOR-1)

    Indians 2, Yankees 0  Top 4, 0 OutsMay 7 8:10 PM


  • AL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CLEVELAND 1 1 1 0
    NY YANKEES 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: CLE - CLIFF LEE
    NYY - CHIEN-MING WANG

    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: J DAMON (.282, 4 HR, 14 RBI)
    D JETER (.310, 0 HR, 16 RBI)
    B ABREU (.299, 4 HR, 21 RBI)

    Indians 1, Yankees 0  Bot 1, 0 OutsMay 7 7:19 PM
  • 5
    roots
    bouch Added 5 roots

    Indians vs. YankeesMay 7 3:10 PM