By RICK FREEMAN. AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Andy Pettitte broke his ankle on the same day the Yankees put CC Sabathia on the disabled list, and Robinson Cano hit a go-ahead homer to help New York beat the Cleveland Indians 5-4 Wednesday for a three-game sweep.
The Yankees have to face at least two starts without Sabathia and at least six weeks without Pettitte, the veteran who came out of retirement and filled in admirably for a pitching staff hit by injuries, including the loss of starter Michael Pineda and closer Mariano Rivera.
Pettitte fractured a bone in his ankle in the fifth inning when he was hit in the leg on a line drive by Casey Kotchman. Before the game, the Yankees announced Sabathia strained his groin against the Mets on Sunday, and still felt discomfort after throwing in the bullpen Tuesday.
Rafael Soriano had an adventuresome ninth inning in which put the first two batters on base and walked in a run with two outs before getting Asdrubal Cabrera to fly out to left for his 17th save.
Pettitte was hit near his left ankle as he brought it around from the rubber while completing his delivery. The ball bounced toward the third base line and the left-hander went to field it, but it looked as if he couldn’t put weight on it and he went down on the grass.
He got back on the mound and threw several warm-up pitches before manager Joe Girardi let him stay in. But when he came up limping after throwing his first live pitch, Girardi popped out of the dugout and signaled for a pitching change.
Right-hander Cody Eppley came on with Kotchman on first and no one out. Lou Marson singled and Aaron Cunningham bunted the runners over before Kotchman was thrown out at the plate on Michael Brantley’s grounder to first base against Clay Rapada.
Cabrera hit a tying RBI single and Jason Kipnis followed with a blooper that fell in just beyond the glove of shortstop Jayson Nix to put the Indians ahead 3-2.
Ubaldo Jimenez (7-6) gave the lead back in the sixth when he allowed a leadoff double by Alex Rodriguez before Cano’s drive. Jimenez allowed four hits, four walks and four runs in six innings while striking out seven.
Pettitte had been working on another good start when he was hurt. He struck out 7 in four innings, and was charged with two runs, only one of which was earned. He has struck out about a batter per inning since returning May 13.
Shelley Duncan hit an RBI double in the second for Cleveland, which has lost a season-high five straight.
General manager Brian Cashman said Sabathia felt a twinge in the muscle on the inside of his left leg in the fourth inning against the Mets. He didn’t tell anyone about it until he could still feel discomfort after throwing in the bullpen on Tuesday.
Girardi said the Yankees expect to have Sabathia, who is 9-3 with a 3.45 ERA, back shortly after the All-Star break. Longtime starter Freddy Garcia was expected to return to the Yankees rotation in place of the Cy Young-winner, but he had to pitch in the fifth inning, after Eppley and Rapada got the first two outs.
Garcia (2-2) struck out cleanup hitter Jose Lopez to end the fifth, then worked the sixth and seventh, which could make him unavailable to start in place of Sabathia on Friday.
NOTES: The Indians claimed former Mets utility player Vinny Rottino off waivers from New York, which designated him for assignment on Monday. He hit .182 with a double, two homers and 5 RBIs in 18 games with the Mets. Cleveland made room for him on the 40-man roster by designating RHP Chris Schwinden for assignment. Schwinden had appeared for the Mets earlier this season, but had been claimed previously by the Blue Jays before the Indians. … New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin will throw out the first pitch on Saturday against the White Sox. … Soriano came on Tuesday night once the Indians scored four times in the ninth.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)