Yankees overwhelm Guardians in a dominant doubleheader sweep

CLEVELAND — After hitting a speed bump in Houston on Thursday, the Yankees got back on their winning ways on Saturday, sweeping a doubleheader against the Guardians with a 13-4 opener win and a 6-1 nightcap win in progressive field .

The Yankees, who have won six of their last seven games, hit four homers in the first set and then got a strong start from Nestor Cortes in the nightcap.

With the Game 1 win, the Yankees also improved to 16-5 from losses in the season — which isn’t too surprising considering they’re the MLB all-time best at 58-21 overall.

But there’s something about their success in games after rare losses.

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

On Saturday, that led to two innings with four runs in the opener, resulting in their greatest offensive effort since they hit 18 runs against the White Sox on June 12.

Anthony Rizzo watches his solo homer as the Yankees defeat the Guardians in Game 2.
Anthony Rizzo watches his solo homer as the Yankees defeat the Guardians in Game 2.
USA TODAY sports

“I just think there’s a lot of toughness and determination in this clubhouse,” said Matt Carpenter, who hit two homers in the first game. “There’s a lot of fighting [and] people who care.”

In the second game, the Yankees wore down a Cleveland team that had just won three of four against the first-placed Twins at lightweight AL Central.

Back-to-back home runs by Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton in the second inning got them rolling, and they added four more runs in the seventh to finish it off.

Cortes (7-3) allowed former Met Amed Rosario to hit a solo homer with an out in the first inning and only two singles the rest of the way. The left-hander gave up just one run in six innings to bolster his All-Star case after struggling in three of his previous four games.

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

Attempting to end the game, Wandy Peralta also loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth round, forcing the Yankees to go to Clay Holmes to end it with his 15th save.

Joey Gallo scores with a sacrificial fly hit by Kyle Higashioka during the Yankees' Game 2 win.
Joey Gallo scores with a sacrificial fly hit by Kyle Higashioka during the Yankees’ Game 2 win.
Getty Images

It wasn’t a perfect afternoon for the Yankees, however, as Aroldis Chapman proved as big a problem as ever.

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

In the opener, Gerrit Cole (7-2), who had only allowed two earned runs in 20 ¹/₃ innings in his previous three starts, put the Yankees in a hole when Josh Naylor led from the bottom of the second inning with a 415-foot Homer to the center and Franmil Reyes followed with a shot to the right to give Cleveland a 2-0 lead.

Against left-hander Kirk McCarty, who was making only his third appearance of his MLB career — and starting for the second — the Yankees went on the offensive in the third. LeMahieu started with a right-to-right one-out homer to make it 2-1.

Aaron Judge and Torres left before Stanton huffed. Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s 27th call-up for the doubleheader, Miguel Andujar played in the center to bring in Judge and level the score. Aaron Hicks then delivered a base hit to the right to score two more to put the Yankees in front.

The Yankees continued to spill runs in the sixth game against Anthony Gose. Hicks – who, like LeMahieu and Torres, reached base four times in the opener – walked and Carpenter homed to the right. Later in the inning, with two outs, LeMahieu walked and Judge doubled. Both scored in a Torres single from the left to make it 8:2.

Cole, on the other hand, rolled after the second inning and, like Cortes, will be in the All-Star talk.

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