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Yanks take record loss

By Associated Press
Published September 1, 2004

NEW YORK - With the largest loss in their history, the Yankees' lead was cut to 31/2 games, their August slump beginning to resemble a freefall.

Omar Vizquel went 6-for-7 to tie the American League record for hits, and the Cleveland Indians routed New York 22-0 Tuesday night.

Javier Vazquez was knocked out in the second inning, Cleveland took a 15-0 lead in the fifth and Jody Gerut and Victor Martinez hit three-run homers off Esteban Loaiza in the ninth. To make it worse for New York, owner George Steinbrenner was on hand to watch.

New York had never lost by more than 18, falling 24-6 at Cleveland on July 29, 1928, and 19-1 at home against Detroit on June 17, 1925. The Yankees' biggest shutout loss was 15-0 at home against the White Sox on May 4, 1950.

Jake Westbrook improved to 6-1 in his past nine starts, allowing five hits in seven innings.

Cleveland, which had season highs for runs and hits (22), set a team record for a shutout win, topping its 19-0 rout of Boston on May 18, 1955.

Vazquez, his faced bowed and wiping sweat off his face, walked off the field to boos after 11/3 innings, matching the shortest start of his career.

Vazquez gave up six runs, and the Indians then scored seven off former Devil Ray Tanyon Sturtze and three against C.J. Nitkowski.

Cleveland, which moved back over .500 at 67-66, scored three in each of the first three innings, then added six in the fifth. Every Indians batter had scored by the fifth, and the top eight batters in the order all had RBIs.

Travis Hafner hit a three-run triple in the first and Coco Crisp homered and drove in three. Vizquel and Martinez had four RBIs each.

Vizquel had a chance for a seventh hit but flied out.

It was ugly from the start for the Yankees, who were booed early and often by the crowd of 51,777.

New York, which has lost four straight home games for the first time since May 22-26, 2003, is having its season start to resemble a mirror image of 1978, when the Yankees dropped to fourth place and trailed the Red Sox by 14 after play July 19, then rebounded to win the East in a one-game playoff.

The largest lead held by a team that failed to finish first was 11 by the 1995 Angels, according to the Elias Sport Bureau.

"We can't control Boston," Yankees manager Joe Torre said before the game. "If they continue to win every single game, they're going to deserve anything they can accomplish. The only time we can control what they do is when we play them."

New York and Boston have two three-game series left, at Yankee Stadium from Sept. 17-19 and at Fenway Park from Sept. 24-26.

[Last modified September 1, 2004, 01:10:40]


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