10/07/07 10:30 PM ET
Indians Short Hops: Game 3
Tribe looks to regroup, finish off Yankees in New York
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
Jake Westbrook's sinker worked for four innings. Then, he sank in the fifth, as the Yankees pounded their way to their first series victory. Frozen moment
A not so funny thing happened on the way to putting the champagne on ice. For the first time in the three games of this Division Series, the Yankees put back-to-back hits together. Actually, Hideki Matsui, Robinson Cano, Melky Cabrera and Johnny Damon strung together four straight hits during a four-run fifth off Westbrook, with Damon's three-run blast giving the Yankees the lead for good. Big number
1 -- The amount of runs scored by the Indians Sunday against any pitcher not named Roger Clemens. Although Jhonny Peralta doubled home the team's third run off Phil Hughes in the third, the tally was charged to Clemens. After that, Cleveland's offense produced just two baserunners until the eighth, when it briefly rallied off Joba Chamberlain. Game balls
Nixon perfectly executed his role in the second inning, as the left-handed-hitting outfielder homered off Clemens in his first at-bat of the 2007 postseason. He also doubled home a run in the eighth. But in the sixth, a Robinson Cano single rolled under Nixon's glove as he aggressively charged the grounder in right and allowed two more runs to score.
The sinker specialist did his job through four innings, yielding one run on four hits, while inducing nine ground balls and, with two double plays, 11 outs via the ground ball. Westbrook was unable to get a ground ball over the next eight hitters, retiring only three before exiting the game.
Known as a left-handed specialist, Fultz was brought into the game with a runner on first and no outs in the sixth to turn around switch-hitter Jorge Posada and handle three straight left-handed hitters following the Yankees catcher. Three of those hitters reached base, albeit one via an intentional walk, and two scored.
Sense of October
Moments after what would amount to Damon's game-winning home run, the television cameras panned the ecstatic crowd at Yankee Stadium and found one in particular holding a sign reading, 'Indians: Buzz Off.' It's an obvious play on words after Friday's gnat attack, as Cleveland got swatted away on Sunday.
2 AB, 0 H, 0 K, 2 BB
Comment: Hafner exhibited the keen batting eye that makes him so dangerous even when he's not hitting. But Hafner, who also reached on a Cano error, scored just once out of the three times he reached base.
1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 3 K
Comment: The right-handed rookie entered in the seventh inning to face Derek Jeter, Bobby Abreu and Alex Rodriguez. Sixteen pitches later, Lewis had fanned all three swinging.
Veteran Paul Byrd tries to succeed where Westbrook didn't, leading the Indians' charge to the ALCS in Game 4.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.