10/04/07 11:45 PM ET
Yankees Short Hops: Game 1
Missed opportunities secure series-opening loss in Cleveland
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
The Yankees and Indians sent their aces to the hill, but Cleveland prevailed in what was hardly a pitchers' duel. Frozen moment
After launching a 3-1 fastball from C.C. Sabathia over the right-field wall to lead off the game, New York's Johnny Damon threw his arms up in disbelief when umpire Jim Wolf ruled the ball foul. Damon kept rounding the bases anyway, and the crowd let out a loud round of boos after the umpires convened and reversed the call, putting the Yankees ahead, 1-0. Big number
6 -- Sabathia didn't walk more than three batters in any of his regular-season starts for the Indians this year, but he issued six free passes against the Yankees on Thursday. Still, New York wasn't able to turn a single walk from Sabathia into a run. Game balls
Three game balls. Damon opened the game with a solo home run, but that turned out to be just one of four hits that the Yankees managed against Sabathia. New York's left fielder added a walk in the fifth inning, but he was one of three runners stranded in the frame.
Three game balls. Abreu helped drive Sabathia's pitch count up in the early innings, seeing 14 pitches over his first two plate appearances, resulting in a pair of walks. In the fifth inning, he sliced the first offering he saw from Sabathia down the left-field line for a run-scoring double.
Three game balls. In the fourth inning, Cano pulled a 2-2 pitch from Sabathia deep to right-center field, where it barely cleared the top of the wall for a solo home run -- the second baseman's first career playoff homer. Cano also drew a walk in the second inning, but he was thrown out in an effort to swipe second base.
Sense of October
In the second inning, Sabathia fired a 96-mph heater up and in to Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who flailed at the pitch for a strikeout. During his swing, Jeter nearly fell to the ground, forcing some laughter and creating loud cheers from the raucous crowd at Jacobs Field. As Jeter headed back to the visitors' dugout, he glanced back at Sabathia, while fans waved towels and the drum boomed from the outfield.
2 AB, 1 H, 1 RBI, 2 BB
Comment: Abreu reached base three times and came up with one of the few key hits for the Yankees.
4 2/3 IP, 8 R, 9 H, 4 BB, 2 K, 2 HR, 1 HBP
Comment: Wang struggled with his command from the get-go, setting an unfortunate tone for New York's lopsided loss.
"In baseball, anything can happen, but you definitely don't want to see that happen in the first game with your ace. We just gave them a bit more confidence going into [Friday], and we just need to come out early and try to settle their bats down somehow." -- Damon
After the Yankees endured a disappointing setback in Game 1, they will turn to veteran left-hander Andy Pettitte in Game 2 at Cleveland. Pettitte is 18-6 in 34 career postseason outings, and he'll aim to avoid having the Yankees slip into a 2-0 hole against the Indians.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.