By TOM WITHERS AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) _ Austin Kearns hit his first homer in 105
at-bats this season, a stunning three-run shot in the seventh
inning off New York’s A.J. Burnett, to send the Cleveland Indians
to a 6-3 win and spoil Derek Jeter’s return to the Yankees’ lineup
Jeter was back at shortstop and again atop the batting order for
the first time since June 13, when he went on the disabled list
with a calf injury. New York’s captain went 0 for 4 and remained
six shy of becoming the first Yankees player to reach 3,000 hits.
Josh Tomlin (10-4), who carried a no-hitter into the seventh,
allowed two runs and three hits. The Indians’ right-hander also
became the first pitcher since 1919 to go at least five innings in
each of his first 29 career appearances.
With two on and the Indians trailing 2-1, Kearns, who has been
in a slump all season, hit a 1-0 pitch from Burnett (8-7) the
opposite way to right for his first homer since Aug. 22, when he
wore Yankee pinstripes. Kearns came up batting only .192 with two
RBIs in a part-time role.
Carlos Santana hit a two-run homer in the eighth for Cleveland,
finally back home after a nine-game interleague trip.
Chris Perez pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 20th save in 21 tries
as the Indians improved to 25-14 at home.
Curtis Granderson hit his 23rd homer for the Yankees, who have
lost two straight after a seven-game winning streak.
Trying to become the first pitcher in 53 years to no-hit the
Yankees by himself, Tomlin retired 18 straight entering the seventh
and was poised to deliver a Fourth of July spectacular to a rare
sellout crowd at Progressive Field that included roughly 15,000
very vocal Yankees fans.
However, Mark Teixeira broke up Tomlin’s no-hit bid with a
leadoff single to center. Tomlin buckled down and struck out Alex
Rodriguez before Robinson Cano reached on a lucky infield single
that caromed off the plate and stayed fair as it dribbled down the
third-base line. Cano laughed as he crossed first base.
Nick Swisher followed by jumping on the first pitch and
splitting the outfielders with a double that rolled to the wall,
scoring Teixeira and Cano to make it 2-0.
Burnett couldn’t hold the lead. He gave up a one-out walk in the
seventh to Grady Sizemore but then struck out Orlando Cabrera. The
right-hander walked rookie Lonnie Chisenhall and was ahead of
Shelley Duncan 0-2 before the first baseman fouled off four pitches
and dumped a 2-2 pitch into right for an RBI single.
Up came Kearns, who was 1 of 11 in his career against Burnett
but drove an outside fastball over the fence in right, giving the
Indians a 4-2 lead. Cleveland’s crowd tried to get Kearns to take a
curtain call, but the outfielder apparently didn’t want to gloat
over his only major contribution this season and stayed out of
The Yankees got within 4-3 on Granderson’s shot to right off
reliever Vinnie Pestano.
Santana gave the Indians some breathing room in the eighth.
Travis Hafner reached on a one-out infield single, and Santana, who
was briefly scratched before the game and then reinserted, hit his
13th homer _ a shot over the left-field wall against Cory Wade.
Jeter’s calf got its first major league test almost immediately.
He topped Tomlin’s second pitch toward third and raced down the
first-base line as Chisenhall was booting the easy grounder for an
error. Tomlin then walked Granderson, yielding his first base on
balls in 24 2-3 innings. With two on, none out and their 3-4-5
hitters coming up, the Yankees appeared to be in business.
However, Tomlin retired Teixeira, Rodriguez and Cano on easy
flyballs to escape an early hole.
In his second at-bat, Jeter flied out to center in the third. He
grounded to third in the sixth and lined to shortstop in the
Manager Joe Girardi was happy to have Jeter back and said he
would wait to see how the 37-year-old felt afterward before
deciding how much the 12-time All-Star will play before the break.
Notes: The Yankees haven’t been no-hit by one pitcher since Hall
of Famer Hoyt Wilhelm in 1958. Six Houston pitchers did it to the
Yankees in 2003. … Indians 1B Matt LaPorta, out since June 18
with a sprained right ankle, took batting practice, grounders and
ran the bases in what may have been his final test before being
activated. Manager Manny Acta said LaPorta will have a similar
workout Tuesday before the team decides whether to activate him or
send him on a minor league rehab assignment. … Rodriguez was one
of several players who got a haircut at the ballpark before the
game. The Indians typically keep a barber around for visiting
teams. … Jeter has always loved playing in Cleveland _ and
against the Indians. He came in with a .370 average at Progressive
Field, his highest in any AL venue. He also entered batting .343
against the Indians, also his best against any AL opponent.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)