Yankees overwhelm Guardians in dominant doubleheader sweep

CLEVELAND — After hitting a speed bump in Houston on Thursday, the Yankees reverted to their winning ways on Saturday, sweeping a doubleheader against the Guardians, with a 13-4 win in the opener and a 6-1 victory in the nightcap at Progressive Field .

The Yankees, who have won six of their past seven games, hit four homers in the opener and then got a strong bounce-back start from Nestor Cortes in the nightcap.

With the Game 1 win, the Yankees also improved to 16-5 after losses on the season — which isn’t too surprising considering they are an MLB-best 58-21 overall.

But there is something to their success in games after rare defeats.

“I feel like we handle wins and losses well, but I also think they get [ticked] off when they lose,” manager Aaron Boone said. “They take it a little bit personal.”

On Saturday, that resulted in a pair of four-run innings in the opener, leading to their biggest offensive output since they scored 18 runs against the White Sox on June 12.

Anthony Rizzo watches his solo homer during the Yankees' Game 2 win over the Guardians.
Anthony Rizzo watches his solo homer during the Yankees’ Game 2 win over the Guardians.
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“I just think there’s a lot of toughness and grit in that clubhouse,” said Matt Carpenter, who hit two homers in the first game. “There’s a lot of fighting [and] guys that care.”

In the second game, 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 by Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton in the second inning got them started and they added four more runs in the seventh to finish it off.

Cortes (7-3) allowed a solo homer to form Met Amed Rosario with one out in the first inning and just a pair of singles the rest of the way. The left-hander gave up just one run in six innings to bolster his All-Star case after he had struggled in three of his previous four outings.

Michael King loaded the bases in the seventh before he struck out pinch-hitter Richie Palacios to end the threat.

Trying to close out the game, Wandy Peralta also loaded the bases with two out in the ninth, forcing the Yankees to go to Clay Holmes to finish it for his 15th save.

Joey Gallo scores on a sacrifice fly hit by Kyle Higashioka during the Yankees' Game 2 win.
Joey Gallo scores on a sacrifice fly hit by Kyle Higashioka during the Yankees’ Game 2 win.
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It wasn’t a perfect afternoon for the Yankees, though, as Aroldis Chapman proved to be as big an issue as ever.

In his return from an IL stint due to left Achilles tendinitis, Chapman walked all three batters he faced in the seventh inning of the opener, and he didn’t even wait on the mound for Boone to come get him after the third walk. Ron Marinaccio got the Yankees out of that mess.

In the opener, 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 off the bottom of the second with a 415 -foot homer to center and Franmil Reyes followed with a shot to right 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 going in the third. LeMahieu started it with a one-out, opposite field homer to right to make it 2-1.

Aaron Judge and Torres walked before Stanton whiffed. Miguel Andujar, called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as the 27th player for the doubleheader, singled to center to drive in Judge, tying the score. Aaron Hicks then delivered a base hit to right to score two more to put the Yankees on top.

The Yankees continued to pour on runs in the sixth against Anthony Gose. Hicks—who, like LeMahieu and Torres, reached base four times in the opener—walked and Carpenter drilled a homer to right. Later in the inning, with two outs, LeMahieu walked and Judge doubled. Both scored on a Torres single to left to make it 8-2.

Cole, meanwhile, rolled after the second inning and will be in the All-Star conversation, as will Cortes.

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