Cleveland (46-39) at New York (44-39)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: New York, NY
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  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Fri Jul 8, 2005
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Rookie Chien-Ming Wang, part of the Yankees’ unexpected youth movement, will try to build on his most impressive performance of the season when New York resumes a four-game series with the visiting Cleveland Indians.

Wang, who has provided a boost to New York’s injury-plagued staff since being called up at the end of April, allowed just five hits in seven innings Sunday, pitching New York to a 1-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers.

“I can’t think of any other pitcher with that kind of poise with that little experience,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said of Wang. “He doesn’t surprise me any more. When we write his name down, we know we don’t have to worry about him.”

Starting in place of injured right-hander Carl Pavano, Wang walked one, hit three batters and struck out two.

“Even when he doesn’t have his good stuff, he has the ability to get out of an inning,” Yankees catcher John Flaherty said.

Wang’s not the only first-year Yankee making his presence felt. Second baseman Robinson Cano is hitting .288 (60-for-208) with six homers and 27 RBIs, and the team unveiled its newest rookie Thursday.

Less than two weeks removed from Double-A ball, 20-year-old Melky Cabrera made his major league debut Thursday night as the Yankees’ latest solution to their center-field problem.

Cabrera went 1-for-4 with an opposite-field single in a 7-2 win over Cleveland, and will give the $200 million Yankees three rookies in the starting lineup Friday.

Cabrera became the first player to make his big league debut as the Yankees’ starting center fielder since Bernie Williams on July 7, 1991, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

“It’s not our signature,” Torre admitted. “All the time I’ve been here, all the criticism the farm system has taken, because they really haven’t given us any help other than making trades, it’s refreshing, it really is.”

The win pulled New York within 3 1/2 games of first-place Boston, the closest the Yankees have been to the AL East lead since April 23.

After winning 18 of 24 games, Cleveland has dropped three straight. The Indians have lost nine of their last 11 meetings with New York, and 10 of their last 11 at Yankee Stadium.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Lee Phi vs. C. Wang Atl
18-5 Record 8-5
3.79 ERA 4.02
143 K 47
52 BB 32
1.22 WHIP 1.25