Giambi homered for the third straight game and 20-year-old Melky
Cabrera singled in his major league debut Thursday night as Mike
Mussina and the Yankees beat the Cleveland Indians 7-2.
Despite a 44-39 record, New York pulled within 3½ games of
Boston, the closest the Yankees have been to the AL East lead since
the morning of April 23.
"We're clicking pretty good offensively, we're playing great
defense, our pitching is really coming around," Giambi said.
"Hopefully, we're all starting to come together."
Giambi also had an RBI single and raised his batting average to
.274, the highest it's been since he went 1-for-2 in the season
opener. He boosted his home run total to nine.
"I've worked hard to get to this point," he said. "I'm
finally feeling good physically."
Giambi has four home runs, two doubles and a single in his last
10 at-bats, and has homered in three consecutive games for the
first time since July 11-13, 2003.
"He's feeling pretty good about himself right now," Yankees
manager Joe Torre said.
Cabrera became the first player to make his major league debut
as the Yankees' starting center fielder since Bernie Williams on
July 7, 1991, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Yankees manager
Joe Torre was impressed with the way Cabrera called off second
baseman Robinson Cano.
"He may have been pressing a little bit at the plate," Torre
said, "but again, the most important thing for us is the defense
he can give us in center field."
Cabrera went 1-for-4 with an opposite-field single to left in
the fifth inning -- he plans to give the ball to his mother, Teresa.
"I feel really happy that I got my first hit here at Yankee
Stadium," he said through a translator. "I felt no pressure. It
was fun playing in front of 52,000 fans."
Mussina (9-5), who had three innings of fewer than 10 pitches,
allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings, lowering his ERA to
3.97. Tom Gordon relieved in the eighth but left after three
batters with tightness in his right shoulder. He is to have an MRI
"I'm not worried about it," Gordon said. "There's no pain at
all, just some stiffness. I couldn't get loose the way I'd like to.
I think I'm fine."
Aaron Boone returned to Yankee Stadium for the first time since
2003, when his 11th-inning homer off Boston's Tim Wakefield won
Game 7 of the AL championship series. Boone, who received an
ovation from fans, went 2-for-4 with two singles.
Kevin Millwood (3-7) gave up six runs and seven hits in six
innings, dropping to 0-3 against the Yankees in his career during
the regular season.
"He's had a lot of tough luck," Indians manager Eric Wedge
said. "He's thrown the ball very consistently for us. We just
haven't been able to give him a great deal of run support."
Millwood retired his first two batters with 0-2 counts and went
0-2 on Gary Sheffield, who singled to left. Rodriguez followed with
a drive just over the right-field wall.
"When my hand hit the wall, I thought I had it," Blake said,
adding jokingly: "It should have been fan interference."
Rob Marchese, a 41-year-old businessman from Queens sitting in a
folding chair in the first row in the right-field stands, fumbled
away both Rodriguez's and Giambi's homers.
"He was in the right spot tonight," Giambi said.
Grady Sizemore pulled Cleveland to 3-2 with a RBI grounder in
the fifth, but New York broke open the game with a three-run sixth.
Hideki Matsui had an RBI single, Millwood threw a run-scoring wild
pitch when he slipped on the mound and Giambi hit his single.
Millwood, who made his Yankee Stadium debut, was impressed by
the play of Cabrera, who is less than two weeks removed from
"He looks like he's going to be a pretty good ballplayer," he
said. "The hit he got was a mistake, and that's kind of the story
of the night for me."
Cleveland has lost nine of its last 11 games against New
York and 10 of its last 11 at Yankee Stadium. ... To make room for
Cabrera, the Yankees put RHP Carl Pavano (sore shoulder) on the
15-day DL retroactive to June 28. ... LHP Darrell May, acquired by
New York last weekend from San Diego for reliever Paul Quantrill,
is likely to be brought up to start Saturday. ... A moment of
silence was observed before the game for victims of the London