NEW YORK — Josh Tomlin was behind by four runs after throwing 59 pitches in the first two innings. With the Cleveland Indians struggling to score, they were already headed for a long and painful night.
Robinson Cano homered and drove in three runs to extend his recent tear, Hiroki Kuroda took a shutout into the eighth and the New York Yankees beat slumping Cleveland 7-1 on Monday.
“I didn’t have a swing-and-miss pitch,” Tomlin said. “Guys were fouling pitches off and seeing a lot of pitches early. If guys are going to miss by that much, I’d prefer them to put it in play somewhere and hopefully get an out. But at that point, they were fouling a bunch of pitches off and when they got a pitch to hit, they didn’t miss.”
Nick Swisher and Dewayne Wise also went deep for the homer-happy Yankees, who opened a seven-game homestand against the top two teams in the AL Central with their third consecutive victory and 13th in 16 games.
After winning an intense Subway Series across town against the Mets over the weekend, New York roughed up Tomlin (3-5) early and breezed the rest of the way.
“Josh didn’t have it and Kuroda did,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “From the get-go, you could tell Josh didn’t have command of his pitches. It’s very rare to see him go 19 pitches on the first two hitters, 80 pitches in three innings. He’s usually in the seventh inning with 80 pitches. He just couldn’t command or locate anything with his pitches. Everything was up and this is the wrong place to pitch behind in the count, up in the zone. Wrong place, wrong team.”
It was a tough night all around for catcher Carlos Santana and the Indians, who dropped their third in a row following a four-game winning streak.
Despite wearing a protective guard, Santana drilled two foul balls off his right foot during a three-pitch span in the fourth, leaving him on the ground in anguish.
Later, he took a foul ball off his glove hand.
“It was a bad day, but I’ll be all right,” Santana said.
The scuffling Indians were held to one run for the third straight game, getting outscored 22-3 during that span, after managing a 2-0 victory Friday in Houston. They have lost 17 of 28 overall — and six of their last seven road games.
Cano hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning Sunday night at Citi Field and picked up right where he left off in this one. He smacked a two-run double in the first inning and a solo homer in the third to the short porch in right.
Wise added an RBI triple in a rare start and Cano made one of several fine defensive plays to back Kuroda (7-7), who improved to 4-1 with a 1.93 ERA in his last six starts.
The 37-year-old right-hander was rarely in trouble besides the fourth, when he walked the first two batters and still escaped unscathed. He easily handled a lineup loaded with nine left-handed bats, giving up five hits while walking two and striking out seven.
Kuroda was lifted after allowing a single and double to start the eighth, walking off to a warm ovation from the crowd of 42,290.
“After they got out to that lead, he was pumping that first-pitch strike and his splitter was really good,” ex-Yankee Johnny Damon said. “He knew his splitter was good, and the pitches we had a chance to hit, well, we didn’t until the eighth inning.”
Jason Kipnis hit a sacrifice fly off Clay Rapada.
Swisher followed Cano’s homer with one of his own, an opposite-field drive that tucked into the left-field corner. Swisher also connected Sunday night, a three-run shot off a knuckleball from previously untouchable R.A. Dickey.
Wise, making his eighth start of the year, hit a long two-run shot in the second for his first homer with the Yankees. He played center field, where Curtis Granderson had started the first 71 games this season.
Granderson was the designated hitter, and third baseman Alex Rodriguez was given the night off.
“I was just happy to walk in today and see my name in the starting lineup. To be honest, I think the team was more happy than I was,” Wise said. “I know my role. These guys in front of me have to play every day. I just need to stay ready.”
The Bleacher Creatures chanted Damon’s name when he took his position in left field for Cleveland. Damon (2,750 hits) went 1-for-4 with a double. He said he’d like to reach 3,000 hits but isn’t sure he’d try to hang on just to do it. He said bouncing from one team to another every year is getting difficult.
• The Indians plan to recall RHP Zach McAllister from Triple-A Columbus to start Thursday night in Baltimore in place of RHP Jeanmar Gomez, who was demoted to the Clippers.
• LHP Scott Barnes, called up from the minors before the game, allowed one run over 2 2-3 solid innings in relief of Tomlin.
• DH Travis Hafner (right knee surgery) was scheduled to run Monday and slide today. If all goes well, he could begin a minor league rehab assignment in a couple of days, Acta said.
• WHO: Cleveland vs. N.Y. Yankees
• TIME: 7:05
• WHERE: Yankee Stadium
• PITCHERS: Masterson (4-6, 3.98 ERA) vs. Hughes (7-6, 4.94)
• TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM