Wang hit hard, Yankees stunned in opener against Indians

By: By JOE MILICIA, Associated Press Writer
By: By JOE MILICIA, Associated Press Writer

October 4, 2007

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Put aside Alex Rodriguez's postseason struggles. The entire New York Yankees roster can take the blame for this one.

Chien-Ming Wang kept turning around to watch the ball fly by, matching his career high for runs allowed.

Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui failed to come up with big hits.

The Yankees started the 2007 playoffs as dismally as they ended the 2006 postseason. Their 12-3 defeat to the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night was their most one-sided postseason loss in six years.

New York has lost four straight postseason games dating to last year's first-round elimination against Detroit. But Yankees' fans can take heart in this oddity -- in their last seven division series, they've won the four times they lost the opener and lost the three times they started off with a win.

Wang was an ace in a hole early, allowing two home runs in a game for only the second time this year. Pitching on seven days' rest, his sinkerball didn't sink -- he got just five groundball outs.

A-Rod wasn't much of a factor, going 0-for-2 with two walks and two infield popups. He is 4-for-43 (.093) with no RBIs in his last 13 postseason games.

Still, the Yankees had chances against C.C. Sabathia. Facing the tough lefty for the first time in three years, they got Johnny Damon's disputed home run leading off the game, then put runners on first and second with one out.

Posada struck out, and Matsui grounded out.

With Sabathia struggling, Bobby Abreu hit an RBI double in the fifth that pulled the Yankees to 4-3, and Rodriguez was intentionally walked, loading the bases.

Sabathia, who was at 100 pitches, fell behind Posada 3-0. Posada got a hittable pitch and fouled it off, only the fourth time he swung at a 3-0 pitch this year. Posada missed the next pitch, fouled off another, then swung and missed for strike three.

Matsui got ahead 2-0, then popped out, dropping to 0-for-12 against Sabathia in his career.

The story was a familiar one for the Yankees. All those wins from April through September mean nothing in October.

From 1996 to 2000, they came up big most of the time. Now they keep coming up short.


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