Indians jolt Yankees
Jeter hitless in return to lineup
CLEVELAND - In 10 years, Austin Kearns has just two career hits against A.J. Burnett.
He’s made them both count.
Kearns hit his first homer in 105 at-bats this season, a stunning three-run shot in the seventh inning off Burnett, sending the Cleveland Indians to a 6-3 win and spoiling All-Star shortstop Derek Jeter’s return to the Yankees’ lineup last night.
With two on and the Indians trailing, 2-1, Kearns, who has been in a slump all season, hit a 1-and-0 pitch from Burnett (8-7) the opposite way to right for his first homer since Aug. 22, when he wore Yankee pinstripes. Kearns came up batting only .192 with two RBIs in a part-time role.
He was only 1 of 11 against Burnett - a grand slam as a rookie in 2002 for Cincinnati.
“It’s a funny game,’’ Kearns said.
Jeter was back in his familiar spot at shortstop and again atop the batting order for the first time since June 13, when he went on the disabled list with a calf injury. New York’s captain went 0 for 4 and remained six shy of becoming the first Yankee to reach 3,000 hits.
“I felt fine, no problems, no issues,’’ Jeter said. “I was nervous at the beginning, almost like it was Opening Day again. It was just nerves. Three weeks is definitely a long time to be out. I felt better as the game went on.’’
Josh Tomlin (10-4), who carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, allowed two runs and three hits and improved to 7-1 at home this season. The Indians’ righthander also became the first pitcher since 1919 to go at least five innings in each of his first 29 career appearances.
Carlos Santana hit a two-run homer in the eighth for Cleveland, finally back home after a nine-game interleague trip.
Chris Perez pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 20th save in 21 tries as the Indians improved to 25-14 at Progressive Field, which was sold out for the third time in 2011.
Curtis Granderson hit his 23d homer for the Yankees, who have lost two straight after a seven-game winning streak.
Mark Teixeira broke up Tomlin’s no-hit bid with a leadoff single to center. Tomlin buckled down and struck out Alex Rodriguez before Robinson Cano reached on a lucky infield single that caromed off the plate and stayed fair as it dribbled down the third base line.
Nick Swisher followed with a double that scored Teixeira and Cano to make it 2-0.
Burnett couldn’t hold the lead. He gave up a one-out walk in the seventh to Grady Sizemore but then struck out Orlando Cabrera. The righthander walked rookie Lonnie Chisenhall and was ahead of Shelley Duncan, 0-and-2, before he fouled off four pitches and dumped a 2-and-2 pitch into right for an RBI single.
Up came Kearns, who drove an outside fastball over the fence in right, giving the Indians a 4-2 lead.
Jeter’s calf got its first test almost immediately. He topped Tomlin’s second pitch toward third and raced down the first base line as Chisenhall mishandled the grounder for an error.
In his second at-bat, Jeter flied to center. He grounded to third in the sixth and lined to shortstop in the eighth.