Ben Broussard admires his 11th homer.
Ben Broussard homered to spark an unlikely six-run uprising against Mike Mussina and Cliff Lee shut down the New York Yankees 1-2-3 the next inning as Cleveland claimed a 7-4 win Wednesday night at Jacobs Field. The Indians moved within one victory of doing something they have not achieved since 1970 -- a three-game sweep of the Yankees in Cleveland.
Lee (12-4) fell behind, 4-0, but somehow managed to win for the sixth time in his last seven decisions. He went 6 2/3 innings, Bob Howry and Scott Sauerbeck each pitched two-thirds of an inning and then Bob Wickman worked a perfect ninth for his 29th save.
Wickman leads the American League in saves, while the Indians won for the fifth time in six games to pull within a half-game of New York in the wacky wild card race. Cleveland is just 3 1/2 behind wild-card leader Oakland, leads Toronto by one game, Minnesota by 1 1/2 and Texas by three.
Broussard's 11th homer triggered a six-run fifth inning that lasted 36 minutes. Mussina made 44 pitches before being replaced with two outs. Cleveland sent 10 men to bat and got three singles, two doubles and two walks after Broussard's blast.
Aaron Boone, who had his contract extended earlier in the day, went 2-for-3 with two RBI, Broussard had two hits and two RBI, while Jeff Liefer and Coco Crisp also had two hits, one RBI and one run apiece.
Staked to a 6-4 lead, Lee made quick work of the Yankees in the sixth, striking out two.
"Anytime you have a big inning like that you want to go out and put up zeros," Lee told reporters. "Early on they were geared up for my fastball, so I changed it up and it seemed to work."
It was the complete opposite for Mussina, who looked unhittable early, then couldn't do anything right. "The fifth inning was a disaster," he told reporters. "I tried everything. I wish I had an answer, but I don't."
CLASS AAA BUFFALO (63-49) had a day off. With a 4 1/2 game in the Northern Division of the Class AAA International League, the Bisons are scheduled to resume play Thursday night in Rochester.
CLASS AA AKRON (63-46) outlasted visiting Reading, 8-7, as Brad Snyder (.283) and Franklin Gutierrez (.261) both went 4-for-5. Snyder drove in four runs with a pair of two-run homers, giving him 10 since being called up to the Aeros and 16 for the season. Ryan Mulhern (.302) also hit a two-run homer, his 11th for Akron and 28th of the season, while Ivan Ochoa (.245) had two hits, including his first homer. Jake Dittler (7-7, 3.45 ERA) gave up five runs over seven innings but got the win. Juan Lara earned his third save. Indians DH Travis Hafner, on an injury rehab assignment with the Aeros, went 0-for-4.
CLASS A KINSTON (16-23) edged visiting Myrtle Beach, 4-3. Ryan Goleski (.210) had two hits, including a solo homer, his 10th, Rodney Choy Foo (.281) went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, his third, and Micah Schilling (.207) had two hits and two RBI. Nick Pesco (7-9, 3.69 ERA) gave up one run over seven innings.Todd Pennington (3.07 ERA) earned his third save.
CLASS A LAKE COUNTY (16-22) was blanked in Hagerstown, 5-0. Chris Gimenez (.219) had two of the Captains' five hits. Aaron Laffey (7-5, 2.90 ERA) yielded three runs (two earned) over six innings, Brandon Rickert (4.41 ERA) allowed two unearned runs over one inning and Adrian Schau (5.28 ERA) struck out two in a perfect inning.
CLASS A MAHONING VALLEY (20-22) had a day off and will try to snap its five-game losing streak Thursday night in a home game against Staten Island.
ROOKIE LEAGUE BURLINGTON (16-24) fell in the ninth inning to visiting Pulaski, 6-5. P.J. Hiser (.326) had two hits and two RBI, while Niuman Romero (.280), Nick Petrucci (.261) and John Drennen (.196) all had two hits apiece. Starter Christopher Hicks (3.34 ERA) allowed one unearned run over five innings, but Wilander Cruz (4.85 ERA) yielded three runs in just 1 2/3 innings. Albert Vargas (1.42 ERA) gave up one run over 1 1/3 innings and Josh Harris (1-4, 10.64 ERA) lost it by allowing three hits and one run in the ninth.