10/07/07 11:20 PM ET
Yankees Short Hops: Game 3
Damon teams with Hughes to extend ALDS with Indians
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
The Yankees pounced on Indians starter Jake Westbrook and utilized some stellar relief to avoid a first-round sweep. Frozen moment
Cleveland's Victor Martinez flailed at a 92-mph fastball from Roger Clemens for the first out of the third inning, adding another strikeout to the New York pitcher's career record. After throwing the heater, Clemens walked off the mound -- potentially for the last time after 24 seasons in the big leagues -- upon aggravating a left hamstring injury. Big number
4 -- Consecutive hits by the Yankees in the fifth inning. New York didn't have back-to-back hits during any inning in either Game 1 or Game 2 of the American League Division Series. Game balls
Damon ended an 0-for-8 skid at the plate in the first inning with a single, one of three hits the Yankees left fielder collected in the win over Cleveland. In the fifth inning, Damon capped off a four-run outburst by belting a three-run home run off Westbrook. Damon added an RBI single in the third.
Aside from surrendering a third-inning double that tacked a third run onto Clemens' abbreviated line, Hughes was dominant out of the bullpen for the Yankees. The 21-year-old right-hander blanked the Indians for 3 2/3 innings, providing ample time for New York to mount a comeback. Hughes gave up two hits and struck out four without issuing a walk.
After going 0-for-7 in the first two games of the series, Matsui reached base four times -- twice with hits. The Yankees designated hitter recorded two singles and drew two walks, including one intentionally. Matsui also accounted for three of New York's eight runs.
Sense of October
Trot Nixon provided memories of his days with the Red Sox by launching a solo homer off Clemens in the second inning, quieting a stunned Yankee Stadium crowd. Four innings later, though, the Indians right fielder had fans recalling Bill Buckner's error for Boston in the 1986 World Series. Nixon allowed a grounder to right field slip under his glove, leading to two insurance runs for the Yankees.
4 AB, 3 H, HR, 4 RBIs
Comment: New York's left fielder sparked the offense with his second home run of the Division Series.
2 1/3 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, ND
Comment: Clemens hadn't pitched since Sept. 16 and was disappointing in his return to the rotation.
"Any club that's in the postseason certainly is capable of winning three games in a row, but we have to make sure that we still stay focused on what we need to do [on Monday]. We get a chance to come back and win a ballgame and build more momentum." -- Yankees manager Joe Torre
The Yankees will live to play another day. After staving off elimination against Cleveland, New York will meet the Tribe again at 7:37 p.m. ET on Monday at Yankee Stadium.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.