Yankees Sweep Indians In Three Game Series

Cleveland, OH (AP) - Andy Pettitte didn't have much trouble with Cleveland's lame lineup and Jason Giambi homered for the second straight day as the New York Yankees beat the Indians 5-3 to complete a series - and season - sweep on Sunday.

Pettitte (9-7) carried a shutout into the seventh and allowed seven singles in 7 1-3 innings.

The rock-steady 35-year-old, again pitching for the Yankees after three seasons with the Houston Astros, also used his renowned pickoff move to snuff out Cleveland's rally in the seventh inning.

Giambi connected for a two-run homer off Jake Westbrook (3-7) in the fourth and Melky Cabrera added a solo shot for the surging Yankees, who one month ago looked as if they might miss the AL playoffs.

Now, they're playing as though they want to win another World Series title.

Asleep offensively most of the weekend, the Indians trailed 4-0 before scoring once in the seventh, eighth and ninth.

Mariano Rivera, called on to work out of a jam in the eighth, gave up three hits in the ninth as the Indians pulled to 5-3. But with runners at second and third, Rivera struck out Asdrubal Cabrera and Grady Sizemore before getting Casey Blake on a routine fly to right for his 19th straight save.

The Yankees have won eight of nine, and with an offense mashing like no other, are a baseball-best 23-8 since the All-Star break. After trailing Boston by 14½ games in late May, the Yanks began the day within five.

And for the first time since 1994, the high-rolling New Yorkers went undefeated against the Indians, going 6-0 and outscoring Cleveland 49-17 this season.

The Yankees came to town at the worst time possible for the Indians, whose offense has been pathetic for weeks. Cleveland is batting .234 since July 23.

That figure might not be as startling as another fact: Cleveland is only a half-game behind first-place Detroit in the AL Central.

Pettitte was working on a three-hitter when the Indians loaded the bases in the seventh on two hits and a walk. With Jason Michaels due up, pitching coach Ron Guidry visited Pettitte and gathered New York's infielders.

Before the second pitch to Michaels, first baseman Andy Phillips sneaked behind Jhonny Peralta, who after being picked off by Pettitte made sure he returned to Cleveland's dugout down the steps at the far end from manager Eric Wedge.

Michaels hit a sacrifice fly, but Pettitte got Chris Gomez to ground out to preserve his three-run lead.

Westbrook allowed four runs and nine hits in seven innings, not bad considering that the Yankees are averaging 7.6 runs per game since July 12.

Robinson Cano's RBI single made it 3-0 in the sixth, and Cabrera's eighth homer put New York ahead 4-0 in the seventh. Derek Jeter added a run-scoring single with two outs in the ninth.