CLEVELAND -- Starter Freddy Garcia never made it through the fifth inning, but still combined with three relievers to help lead the New York Yankees to a 4-2 win over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday.
The Yankees won two of the three games in the weekend series, as they attempt to hold off hard-charging Tampa Bay in the American League East. The Yankees increased their lead to four games over the second-place Rays.
"We needed to come in here and get wins and win a series," said New York manager Joe Girardi. "That's how you get this thing done, by winning series."
Garcia was in and out of trouble for most of his 4 2/3 innings, but was unable to complete the fifth inning and qualify for the win, which went to reliever Boone Logan (5-2).
Garcia allowed two runs on four hits with six strikeouts and two walks.
"These are important games down the stretch," said Girardi, of his decision to remove Garcia from the game with the Yankees leading 3-2, two outs and two runners on in the Cleveland fifth.
"Our (bullpen) guys were well rested. I thought I could get six innings out of Freddy, but we needed to get out of that inning and go from there," said Girardi.
Logan relieved Garcia and got Michael Brantley to ground out to end the inning.
The loss went to Cleveland starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who threw 100 pitches in five innings, giving up three runs on eight hits as his record fell to 9-13.
"The first two innings, I didn't have anything, but the last three I was able to get back in the groove," said Jimenez.
In the first inning, Garcia gave up a leadoff single and stolen base to Jason Kipnis. But with a runner at second and no outs, Garcia was able to prevent Cleveland from scoring.
Jack Hannahan led off the Cleveland third inning with a double, and that was followed by an error by Yankee second baseman Robinson Cano, putting runners at second and third with one out. But again Garcia was able to pitch out of trouble without Cleveland scoring.
"He doesn't throw much harder than 87 mph, but that shows you don't need a rocket arm to get outs," said Indians manager Manny Acta. "He changed speeds and kept us off balance."
The Yankees scored all the runs they needed in the second inning.
Eric Chavez led off the inning with a single, and Raul Ibanez walked. Ichiro Suzuki's single scored Chavez with the first run of the inning, and a sacrifice bunt by Chris Stewart moved the runners to second and third.
Ibanez scored on a groundout by Derek Jeter, and Suzuki scored on a two-out single by Nick Swisher to make it 3-0.
Cleveland scored two runs with that two-out fifth-inning rally that knocked Garcia out of the game. With two outs and nobody on, Kipnis doubled and Garcia hit Asdrubal Cabrera with a pitch. Shin-Soo Choo walked to load the bases.
Carlos Santana then singled up the middle to score Kipnis and Cabrera, cutting the New York lead to 3-2.
The Yankee bullpen took it from there.
The Yankees extended their lead to 4-2 when Curtis Granderson, leading off the sixth inning, homered off reliever Tony Sipp. It was his 33rd homer of the year and 200th homer of his career.
Alfonso Soriano pitched the last 1 1/3 innings for the Yankees to pick up his 33rd save.
Notes: Swisher, who was born in Ohio and played at Ohio State University, had a big series in his home state. Swisher was 7-for-11 with two doubles, a home run and 3 RBIs. . . Granderson's home run Sunday gives the Yankees eight players on their roster with at least 200 career home runs: Granderson, Swisher, Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Chavez, Ibanez, Andruw Jones, and Alex Rodriguez. . . Kipnis had three stolen bases Sunday, bringing his team-leading total to 26. The three steals are a season high for an Indians player. . . On Monday against Oakland, Roberto Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, will make his third start since rejoining the Indians after serving a three-week suspension from Major League Baseball as a result of his arrest for identity theft in the Dominican Republic in the off-season. Hernandez went 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in his first two starts.
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