Cole, Yanks sweep Guardians in series blighted by fan issues

Apr 24, 2022, 1:24 AM | Updated: 2:35 pm
New York Yankees' Anthony Rizzo (48) and Yankees' Aaron Judge celebrate after Rizzo's home run agai...

New York Yankees' Anthony Rizzo (48) and Yankees' Aaron Judge celebrate after Rizzo's home run against the Cleveland Guardians during the first inning of a baseball game, Sunday, April 24, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Jessie Alcheh)

(AP Photo/Jessie Alcheh)

              New York Yankees' DJ LeMahieu reacts to an RBI double as Cleveland Guardians shortstop Amed Rosario looks away during the second inning of a baseball game, Sunday, April 24, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Jessie Alcheh)
            
              New York Yankees' Josh Donaldson (28) slides into first base against the Cleveland Guardians during the third inning of a baseball game, Sunday, April 24, 2022 in New York. (AP Photo/Jessie Alcheh)
            
              Yankees fans react to a home run by New York Yankees' Anthony Rizzo (48) against the Cleveland Guardians during the first inning of a baseball game, Sunday, April 24, 2022 in New York. (AP Photo/Jessie Alcheh)
            
              New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole deals against the Cleveland Guardians during the first inning of a baseball game, Sunday, April 24, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Jessie Alcheh)
            
              New York Yankees' Anthony Rizzo (48) and Yankees' Aaron Judge celebrate after Rizzo's home run against the Cleveland Guardians during the first inning of a baseball game, Sunday, April 24, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Jessie Alcheh)
            
              New York Yankees' Anthony Rizzo rounds the bases after Rizzo's home run as Cleveland Guardians shortstop Amed Rosario watches during the first inning of a baseball game, Sunday, April 24, 2022 in New York. (AP Photo/Jessie Alcheh)

NEW YORK (AP) — In the foggy afterglow of the Yankees’ postgame celebration, Gerrit Cole felt like he could exhale.

“Breathing is a good thing,” he said with a smile. “Everybody can breathe today, right?”

Cole bounced back from the shortest start of his career, Anthony Rizzo powered a long-awaited outburst from New York’s lineup and the Yankees pounded the Cleveland Guardians 10-2 Sunday to complete a three-game sweep in a series marred by fan misbehavior.

Cole (1-0) struck out nine over 6 2/3 scoreless innings, and Rizzo’s two-run drive in the first inning tied him for the AL lead with five homers. New York won for the fifth time in six games, improving to 10-6 despite early concerns about their ineffective ace and a surprisingly punchless lineup.

The Yankees cranked up a fog machine, blasted loud music and celebrated their first sweep of the season in the clubhouse before taking a day off Monday.

“Just put a cherry on top, played a complete three games,” Cole said.

Cleveland outfielders struggled a day after fans threw bottles, cans and other debris at them immediately following New York’s walk-off victory. Myles Straw and Oscar Mercado were heckled after misplays, and breakout rookie Steven Kwan left early with right hamstring tightness.

The Yankees said they increased security in the stands Sunday, and fans appeared to refrain from more beverage tossing.

The Bronx’s famed Bleacher Creatures lobbed plenty of insults, though, especially at Straw in center and Mercado in right.

Straw, who called Yankee Universe the “worst fan base on the planet” after Saturday’s incident, was greeted by chants of “Crybaby!” and sarcastically called “Peter Parker” for his Spiderman-like climb up the wall to confront at least one fan face to face.

Straw got the loudest boos during lineup introductions, and fans pointed and jeered when he and second baseman Andrés Giménez miscommunicated on Hicks’ bases-loaded popup during New York’s three-run third inning.

Mercado badly misjudged DJ LeMahieu’s line drive in the second, letting it go over his head for an RBI double that also delighted fans.

LeMahieu had three hits and three RBIs, including a two-run homer in the sixth, and pinch-hitter Tim Locastro pulled a two-run drive in the eighth as New York’s slumping offense had its biggest day of the year. It took the Yankees 16 games this season to score at least seven runs in a game, a first for the franchise since 1990.

“We played like ourselves today,” LeMahieu said. “That’s kind of what we expect. It’s not always going to happen like that, but we were due for a breakout game.”

Cole covered just 1 2/3 innings in his previous start against Detroit, tying his career high with five walks. He came into the day with a 6.35 ERA through three starts.

Working with backup catcher Jose Trevino for the first time, Cole limited the Guardians to a walk and four hits. He left to a standing ovation after 92 pitches.

“I haven’t been kidding when I said I think it’s about to pop,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.

Cleveland starter Aaron Civale (0-1) allowed six earned runs in three innings, pushing his ERA to 9.58 over three starts.

“On a day when he needed a little help, we didn’t help out,” manager Terry Francona said.

Left-hander Kirk McCarty made his major league debut for the Guardians and allowed four runs on two homers over the final three innings.

Giménez had two hits, including a two-run triple in the ninth.

KWAN’S EXIT

Kwan felt cramping in his hamstring after flying out in the top of the third. He was replaced by Ernie Clement in left field for the bottom of the inning.

The 24-year-old Kwan cleared concussion testing Saturday after crashing into the outfield wall. He was taunted after the play, prompting Straw’s confrontation. Francona said Sunday morning that Kwan was sore but OK to play.

Francona said Kwan’s removal Sunday “kind of was preventative” and that the rookie was day to day.

The 5-foot-9 sparkplug is batting .341 with a .456 on-base percentage in the first 14 games of his career.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Guardians: INF Owen Miller was activated from the COVID-19 injured list. … INF Yu Chang is eligible to return from the COVID-19 IL but needs time to ramp up before he’s game ready. … LHP Konnor Pilkington was optioned to Triple-A.

UP NEXT

Guardians: RHP Shane Bieber (1-0, 2.25) opens a four-game series at the Los Angeles Angels against RHP Michael Lorenzen (1-1, 4.82) on Monday night.

Yankees: Resume a six-game homestand Tuesday night with RHP Luis Severino (1-0, 2.08) taking on Orioles RHP Jordan Lyles (1-1, 3.52).

___

Follow Jake Seiner: https://twitter.com/Jake_Seiner

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Austria's Katharina Liensberger speeds down the course during the first run of an alpine ski...
Associated Press

Austrian ski team aims to rediscover its magic at worlds

VIENNA (AP) — Only one skier in the 24-member Austrian squad for the upcoming world championships has won on the Word Cup circuit this season. A star coach left the women’s team mid-January. And “crisis” has become a common word on the ski-mad nation’s sport pages. Has the once dominating “Wunderteam” from Austria lost its […]
1 day ago
FILE - Workers prepare to remove giant Olympic rings from the waterfront area at Odaiba Marine Park...
Associated Press

Tokyo Olympic bribery scandal rolls on; company apologizes

TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese company embroiled in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic corruption scandal said Thursday it would strengthen oversight to prevent further wrongdoing. Kadokawa “seriously betrayed public trust,” company president Takeshi Natsuno said. He bowed deeply with two other executives to show remorse in a news conference. Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, the son of the founder, […]
1 day ago
Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray (5) dunks over Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul during the first h...
Associated Press

Murray scores 21 points, Hawks roll past Suns 132-100

PHOENIX (AP) — Trae Young rose up for a 3-pointer in the second half that left his hands way too hard, hurtling toward the basket before slamming off the backboard and through the hoop. Atlanta’s star guard shrugged and ran back down the court with a sheepish grin. Things were going the Hawks way Wednesday […]
1 day ago
Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, left, guards Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson, right, during ...
Associated Press

Markkanen, Conley power Jazz to 131-128 win over Raptors

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Lauri Markkanen had 28 points and 13 rebounds and Mike Conley added a three-point play and two clutch free throws in the closing minutes to lift the Utah Jazz to a 131-128 win over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night. “Taking my time, having a little more patience, not just […]
1 day ago
Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) looks to pass while defended by Minnesota Timberwolv...
Associated Press

Russell, Edwards help Timberwolves beat Warriors in OT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — D’Angelo Russell scored 14 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, Anthony Edwards took over in overtime after Russell fouled out and the Minnesota Timberwolves outlasted the Golden State Warriors 119-114 on Wednesday night. Russell fouled out after two quick whistles in the first minute of overtime. That set the stage […]
1 day ago
Boston Bruins' Pavel Zacha (not shown) scores on Toronto Maple Leafs' goaltender Ilya Samsonov (35)...
Associated Press

Pavel Zacha scores twice as Bruins beat Maple Leafs 5-2

TORONTO (AP) — The Toronto Maple Leafs feel like they can keep up with the NHL-leading Boston Bruins. They just need to do it for three consecutive periods. Pavel Zacha scored twice in the third as Boston surged past the Maple Leafs 5-2 on Wednesday. After a scoreless first period, Toronto trailed 2-1 at the […]
1 day ago
Cole, Yanks sweep Guardians in series blighted by fan issues