Vidal Nuño's solid start helps Yankees split doubleheader in Cleveland
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CLEVELAND - All things considered, the doubleheader couldn't have gone much better.
Among the considerations:
Joe Girardi going into Monday afternoon against an Indians team that leads the American League in homers and slugging without the Yankees' two stalwarts at the back end of the bullpen; sending out two lineups that looked like something the Yankees might bus to Kissimmee, Fla., in mid-March for a split-squad game; and starting David Phelps and Vidal Nuño, the latter a pitcher making his first start in the big leagues.
And so, the Yankees losing the first game to the Indians, 1-0, but coming back with a 7-0 win in Game 2 sent the team back to the Bronx feeling good about the day, not to mention the week.
"This was a great road trip for us," Girardi said.
The Yankees (24-14), who had their five-game winning streak snapped in the opening game, went 6-2 on their three-city trip, which started last Tuesday in Denver and continued over the weekend in Kansas City.
"We played three teams that were playing well," Girardi said. "To be able to do that, that's a really good road trip."
Nuño, a lefthander who nearly made the club as it broke camp, shut out the Indians for his five innings, allowing three hits with three walks and three strikeouts in picking up his first major-league win.
"I was just waiting for my shot and just try and do the best I could," said Nuño, 25, who was 2-0 with a 1.54 ERA in four starts with Triple-A Scranton before getting called up April 27. He worked ahead of most batters and seemed comfortable throwing his cutter, slider, changeup and curveball regardless of the count.
"He did exactly what he did down there," said Austin Romine, who caught Nuño on Monday and three of Nuño's starts with Scranton. "He spots all of his pitches. He can throw his curveball any time he wants. He just did what he's been doing and command everything."
Adam Warren pitched four scoreless innings after Nuño to make it eight straight games in which the Yankees' bullpen has not allowed a run. Boone Logan ran that streak to seven by combining to pitch 1 1/3 scoreless innings after Phelps' solid 6 2/3-inning outing in Game 1, the lone blemish against Phelps in that game the solo homer he allowed to Jason Kipnis in the first inning. Phelps was outpitched by Justin Masterson, who struck out nine in a four-hitter.
"Doubleheader or no doubleheader, that's still my job," Phelps said of pitching deep. "But we've got so many games in a row and losing an off day, I know our bullpen's taxed and I have to go out and pitch as deep as I can."
The Yankees broke open Game 2 with a six-run seventh.
Corban Joseph, who was called up from Triple-A Sunday and started Game 1 at first base and Game 2 at second, doubled to start the rally. He came in on a double by Romine, the catcher's first big-league hit of the season. The Yankees sent 10 to the plate in the inning, with Jayson Nix and Vernon Wells contributing RBI singles and Lyle Overbay a two-run double.
"It's huge," Romine said of young players such as himself, Nuño and Joseph who started the season in Scranton. "This is the time for the Yankees when the young guys get to show what they're made of. You got a glimpse of it today."