He’ll try to maintain his perfect mark since returning to the Yankees when they try to close out a three-game sweep of the slumping Cleveland Indians at Jacobs Field.
Hernandez, who was traded by the Yankees to Montreal prior to the 2003 season but missed all of last year with a shoulder injury, has made a stirring comeback. The Cuban hurler is 5-0 with a 2.78 ERA, and the Yankees have won all eight games he’s started since getting recalled from Triple-A Columbus in July.
New York manager Joe Torre said Hernandez, signed as an afterthought in March, has provided some much-needed stability to a rotation that was without both Kevin Brown and Mike Mussina for several weeks.
“He’s been as consistent as we have right now,” Torre said. “We have to start winning more regularly now.”
The Yankees had lost six of seven before taking the first two from the Indians, and hold a 6 1/2 -game lead over second-place Boston in the AL East. New York held a 10 1/2 -game advantage on Aug. 15.
Derek Jeter homered in the first inning for his 1,000th career run, then stole a pair of bases in the ninth before scoring on Hideki Matsui’s two-out single to lift the Yankees over Cleveland 5-4 on Tuesday, handing the Indians their ninth straight loss.
“He took us on his shoulders and got us in position to win the ballgame,” Torre said of Jeter.
Jeter, hit on the left elbow by a pitch from Bob Wickman on Monday, showed no signs of lingering problems. He hit his 16th homer in his first at-bat.
Cleveland, which had been one game behind AL Central-leading Minnesota on Aug. 15, are eight games back of the Twins. The Indians are on their longest skid since losing 10 straight in 1979.
Cleveland will hopes Jake Westbrook can end the slide Wednesday.
The right-hander is 7-0 with a 2.24 ERA in 11 appearances, including seven starts, at Jacobs Field this season. Westbrook, who made his major league debut with New York in 2000, has won five of his last six decisions overall.