By RICK FREEMAN
AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ CC Sabathia took a perfect game into the fifth inning, then hung on to make early homers by Travis Hafner and Brett Gardner hold up for the New York Yankees in a 6-4 win over the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday.
Sabathia gave up seven hits and struck out nine in his first complete game of the year for New York, which swept the Indians in three games to finish a homestand that began with two losses to the Mets and a 1-2 series against Boston. The Indians were swept in their only visit to the Bronx last season, too.
The left-hander went the distance and spared the Yankees bullpen after their top two relievers had pitched on consecutive nights.
Hafner, who was Sabathia’s teammate in Cleveland when the Indians beat the Yankees in the 2007 AL division series, hit a two-run homer in the first inning off Corey Kluber (3-4), and Gardner added a three-run shot in the second following Chris Stewart’s RBI single.
It was enough for Sabathia, who threw three straight balls to leadoff hitter Michael Bourn, then looked dialed in. He struck out the side in the third, as well as the leadoff hitter in the fourth.
Sabathia (6-4) did not allow a baserunner until Mike Aviles singled cleanly with two outs in the fifth inning, then he looked more pedestrian.
Cleveland put together a couple of runs in the sixth, on three straight singles capped by Jason Kipnis’ run-scoring hit off first baseman Mark Teixeira’s glove. Nick Swisher added a second run when he reached on a fielder’s choice.
Yan Gomes hit a two-run shot off Sabathia in the seventh inning to get the Indians within two runs.
Kluber was rocked early, but gathered himself enough to make it through six innings with seven hits and a walk. He struck out eight, and only was charged with four earned runs because Bourn couldn’t handle Robinson Cano’s sinking liner in center before Hafner’s home run.
NOTES: Drug agents are investigating a narcotics delivery to the home of Indians closer Chris Perez, authorities said. No charges have been filed. GM Chris Antonetti says the team had talked with Perez and is gathering information. … Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he had not discussed MLB’s drug-clinic investigation with 3B Alex Rodriguez. … The Yankees improved to 14-4 against Cleveland at the new Yankee Stadium. The Indians beat them 10-2 in the new ballpark’s first game, in 2009. … Phil Hughes (2-4) is expected to start for New York in Seattle on Thursday against RHP Aaron Harang (2-5). … The Indians will go to Detroit and send Ubaldo Jimenez (4-3) up against Justin Verlander (7-4)..