CLEVELAND — After hitting a speed bump in Houston on Thursday, the Yankees got back to winning ways on Saturday, sweeping a double against the Guardians, with a 13-4 victory in Game 1 and a 6-1 win in the final drink at Progressive Field .
The Yankees, who have won six of their last seven games, hit four home runs in Game 1 and then got a solid rebound from Nestor Cortes on the last drink.
With the Game 1 win, the Yankees also improved to 16-5 after losses throughout the season – not too surprising considering they are among the best in MLB 58-21 at total.
But there is something about their success in matches after rare defeats.
“I feel like we handle wins and losses well, but I also think they get [ticked] when they lose,” manager Aaron Boone said. “They take it a bit personal.”
On Saturday, that culminated in a pair of four-run innings in Game 1, leading to their biggest offensive output since scoring 18 runs against the White Sox on June 12.
“I just think there’s a lot of toughness and grit at this club,” said Matt Carpenter, who homered twice in Game 1. “There is a lot of fighting [and] guys who care.
In Game 2, the Yankees wore down a Cleveland team that had just won three of four against the first-place Twins in the lightweight AL Central.
Back-to-back homers from Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton in the second inning got them going and they added four more runs in the seventh to finish.
Cortes (7-3) allowed former Met Amed Rosario a solo homer with one out in the first inning and just a pair of singles the rest of the way. The southpaw allowed just one run through six innings to bolster his All-Star record after struggling in three of his previous four outings.
Michael King loaded the bases in the seventh before pulling out pinch hitter Richie Palacios to end the threat.
Trying to close out the game, Wandy Peralta also charged in with two outs in the ninth, forcing the Yankees to go to Clay Holmes to finish him off for his 15th save.
It wasn’t a perfect afternoon for the Yankees, however, as Aroldis Chapman proved to be as big a problem as ever.
Coming back from a stint in IL with left Achilles tendonitis, Chapman walked all three batters he faced in the seventh inning of Game 1, and he didn’t even wait on the mound for Boone to pick him up after the third step. Ron Marinaccio got the Yankees out of this mess.
In Game 1, Gerrit Cole (7-2), who had allowed just two earned runs in 20 ¹/₃ innings in his previous three starts, put the Yankees in a hole when Josh Naylor led late in the game. second with a 415-foot homer to center and Franmil Reyes followed with a right shot to give Cleveland a 2-0 lead.
Facing left-hander Kirk McCarty, making just the third appearance — and second start — of his MLB career, the Yankees offense got into the third. LeMahieu started with a homer away from the right to make it 2-1.
Aaron Judge and Torres walked before Stanton breathed. Miguel Andujar, called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as the 27th player for the doubleheader, chose center to drive as a judge, tying the score. Aaron Hicks then delivered a right hit to score two more to put the Yankees ahead.
The Yankees continued to dump points in the sixth against Anthony Gose. Hicks – who, like LeMahieu and Torres, reached base four times in Game 1 – walked and Carpenter homered to the right. Later in the inning, with two outs, LeMahieu walked and Judge doubled. The two scored on a Torres single from the left to make it 8-2.
Cole, meanwhile, rolled after the second inning and will be in the All-Star conversation, as will Cortes.