By Dave Buscema
The Sports Xchange
NEW YORK -- They escaped another precarious situation in the ninth inning to cap another strong outing from their bullpen. They watched Robinson Cano hit yet another home run, and Eric Chavez make a couple of key contributions in the field and at the plate.
But after beating the Cleveland Indians 5-4 Wednesday for their fifth straight win, the New York Yankees had other things on their minds.
Namely the loss of top starters CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte, who were both placed on the disabled list, with Pettitte expected out at least two months with a fractured fibula.
"Well, we won," general manager Brian Cashman said. "And then, obviously, we had two losses."
Cano hit his seventh home run in his past 10 games and Chavez had two hits and three RBI.
For the second game in a row, the Yankees withstood a ninth-inning rally from the Indians. Jason Kipnis and Lou Marson had two hits apiece for Cleveland, which lost its fifth straight game.
But the Yankees absorbed a couple of tough blows as they placed Sabathia on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left groin, then saw Pettitte fracture the lower fibula on his left leg, on Casey Kotchman's fifth-inning line drive single.
"Obviously, it's frustrating but I think things happen for a reason," said Pettitte, who was making the ninth start of his comeback from retirement. "We just have to weather the storm and it's time for me to put my pom-poms on and be a cheerleader."
Pettitte had looked sharp through four innings, allowing two runs, but only one earned, on three hits while striking out seven.
But Kotchman led off the fifth with a line drive off Pettitte's left ankle. He initially tried to stay in the game, throwing some warm-up pitches, before giving way to Cody Eppley.
"That's not good to see," Kotchman said. "You never like to see any player leave the field, due to injury. That stinks. Obviously, praying for a quick recovery for him, especially the human being he is."
The Yankees later announced that Pettitte had fractured the fibula with a small broken bone in the ankle, and he would require crutches and a boot, but not surgery. The news followed the pre-game announcement that Sabathia would miss at least two starts due to a Grade 1 strain of his left groin. He's expected to be out until the All-Star break.
The Indians, who have struggled to score for most of the past week, again put a late scare into the Yankees, loading the bases and scoring a run against closer Rafael Soriano to make it 5-4.
Lonnie Chisenhall led off with a single before Shin-Soo Choo walked and, one out later, Marson singled to load the bases.
Soriano struck out former Yankee Johnny Damon for the second out, but walked Michael Brantley to force in a run and make it 5-4.
After falling behind Asdrubal Cabrera 1-0, Soriano got him on a fly to end the game and earn his 17th save of the season.
"We're not too far away," Kotchman said. "Obviously the outcomes haven't been favorable, but we're not too far away and you just keep trying to stay as positive as you can and things will change around over the 162 (games)."
Trailing 2-1 when Pettitte left in the fifth, Cleveland rallied for two runs on four hits in the inning against Eppley and Clay Rapada.
Marson followed Kotchman with another single and, one out later, the Yankees appeared to get out of trouble as Chavez, playing first, threw home to cut down Kotchman at the plate on Brantley's grounder.
But Cabrera and Kipnis added RBI singles to give Cleveland a 3-2 lead before Freddy Garcia (2-2) relieved and struck out Jose Lopez to end the inning.
Garcia went on to throw 2 1/3 scoreless innings, eliminating him from spot starter duty in Sabathia's place Friday. Instead, he'll start Monday, with rookie Adam Warren going Friday.
Girardi said he felt like he needed to use Garcia at that point and that "today Freddy did an outstanding job and he's one of the reasons we won this game."
The Yankees, who had scored their first two runs on Chavez's double, responded in the sixth. Alex Rodriguez led off with a double off Ubaldo Jimenez (7-6), who then brushed Cano back with an inside fastball.
If the pitch had a purpose, it wasn't served, as Cano came right back to drill an opposite-field homer for a 4-3 lead.
That marked the last inning for Jimenez, who allowed the four runs on four hits while striking out seven and walking four.
While the bullpen shut down the Indians for the next three innings, the Yankees added an insurance run in the eighth off reliever Vinnie Pestano with three singles, the last coming from Chavez.
NOTES: Warren, 5-5, 3.86 ERA for Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Pa.), will be called up Thursday to give him a chance to soak up the Yankee Stadium atmosphere, Cashman said. Ryota Igarashi will also be called up Thursday to fill out the roster. ... Catcher Russell Martin returned to the lineup after missing the past three games with a stiff back. He absorbed a collision at home plate with Kotchman, but said he came out of it all right because his feet were planted and had time to brace himself. ... Cleveland claimed utility man Vinny Rottino off outright waivers from the Mets. Rottino hit .182 with two homers and five RBI in 18 games for the Mets. ... RHP Chris Schwinden, who was 1-2 with a 5.87 ERA for Class AAA Columbus (Ohio) was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Rottino.