Yankees get youngsters to pitch in
Chamberlain also helps stop Indians
CLEVELAND -- Thrown into the middle of a heated playoff chase, the 21-year-olds pitched like they belonged.
The New York Yankees might not be aging so fast after all.
Phil Hughes dominated Cleveland for six innings and reliever Joba Chamberlain overwhelmed hitters with a searing fastball as the Yankees began a challenging stretch with a 6-1 win over the Indians last night.
In just his fourth major league start, Hughes (2-1) allowed one run and four hits. It was the righthander's second start since spending three months on the disabled list with a hamstring injury.
He was followed by Chamberlain, a rocket-throwing righty who began the season in Single A but has sped through New York's minor league system and is now being counted on by the Yankees for the stretch run.
Chamberlain struck out four in two perfect innings, giving him six Ks in four scoreless innings since being called up Tuesday.
"It doesn't seem like they are fazed by too much," Yankees captain Derek Jeter said, "and rightfully so; they've got great stuff. Joba throws a 100-mile-per-hour offspeed pitch. That can't be too much fun."
Alex Rodriguez hit career home run No. 501 in the second inning off Fausto Carmona (13-7), setting the tone for the Yankees, who have been beating up on some of the AL's weaker teams lately.
Before coming to Central-leading Cleveland, New York had played 28 straight games against teams that had losing records at the All-Star break. The Yankees improved to 21-8 since July 12, and are virtually tied with Seattle for the wild-card lead.
Jeter had three hits and Bobby Abreu drove in a pair of runs for New York. The Yankees were managed by bench coach Don Mattingly, who filled in while Joe Torre served a one-game suspension.
Hughes and Chamberlain have made a quick impression on their teammates.
"It's exciting to see two young guys come up and throw strikes," Andy Pettitte said. "You like their stuff, but you like their makeup, too. We're going to need them now more than ever."
The Indians maintained their 1 1/2-game lead in the division over second-place Detroit, which lost to Oakland. Cleveland has scored two runs or fewer in 10 of its past 18 games.
"I felt like we were showing signs of coming out of it, but today was probably a step back," manager Eric Wedge said. "We've got multiple guys just off their game offensively right now. Not to take anything away from Hughes, but I still believe it is about us. We have to do a better job."