By Rick Freeman
NEW YORK (AP) Alex Rodriguez was hit by a pitch after he homered, Bartolo Colon pitched two-hit ball into the seventh inning before he hurt himself, and the New York Yankees beat the Cleveland Indians 4-0 on a misty, windy Saturday afternoon.
Curtis Granderson hit his 20th homer of the season and Rodriguez got plunked by Indians starter Mitch Talbot a day after the teams’ benches cleared, adding another chapter to what has been a testy homestand for the Yankees.
It was the sixth time a Yankees batter has been hit this homestand.
“I thought it was a little fishy,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Probably with what happened last night, (the umpires’) antennas are up.”
Talbot was ejected after hitting A-Rod, but the Yankees didn’t respond in kind.
Instead, they sent Cleveland to its 13th loss in 17 games and left the Indians barely clinging to first place in the AL Central for one more day.
Colon (5-3), famously traded in 2002 by the Indians for three minor leaguers who went on to become All-Stars, was working on a gem against his first big league team. He limped off in the top of the seventh after retiring Shin-Soo Choo covering first base.
The Yankees said Colon strained his left hamstring. He struck out six over 6 2-3 innings to win for the third straight start after two losses in his previous five.
The Yankees made it 3-0 in the seventh when Jorge Posada singled into the right field corner. Choo had trouble coming up with the ball and Nick Swisher came home.
The Indians got the tying run to the plate with nobody out in the eighth, but David Robertson struck out Michael Brantley, Asdrubal Cabrera and Grady Sizemore to end the threat.
Mark Teixeira homered off Vinnie Pestano in the eighth to make it 4-0.
A-Rod opened the scoring in the fourth inning with a line-drive shot into a strong wind blowing in from left field for only the second hit off Talbot (2-3). Granderson then hit his 20th homer of the season deep to right in the sixth.
Teixeira flied out before Talbot hit Rodriguez in the backside. It was a homer by Granderson that preceded the benches-clearing incident the previous night, too.
Plate umpire Dan Iassogna immediately tossed Talbot after the righty hit Rodriguez. While A-Rod writhed on the ground, Talbot argued with Iassogna, and Cleveland manager Manny Acta came out, too. Talbot gestured to the mound, possibly suggesting that he slipped on the wet dirt.
Teixeira left Tuesday night’s game against Boston after getting on the right kneecap by a first-inning pitch from Jon Lester, and Red Sox ace Josh Beckett plunked three New York stars Thursday night: Jeter, Rodriguez and Granderson.
“I’m tired of it,” Girardi said. “Our guys get hit entirely too much. We’re a club that hits home runs and people don’t necessarily like that.”
Notes: Granderson tied Toronto’s Jose Bautista for the AL lead in homers. Teixeira is one behind with 19. … Brett Gardner got the Yankees’ first hit off Talbot with a bunt single in the third inning. He was thrown out at second on a pitchout, and Talbot caught him trying to steal third in the fifth. … In the second inning, the Yankees’ Robinson Cano hit a liner foul and it hit a police officer stationed in the photo well. He disappeared from view briefly, then reappeared to applause, and his fellow officer smacked him on the back as he triumphantly showed the ball. … The Indians received Sizemore, Cliff Lee and Brandon Phillips from Montreal in the 2002 deadline trade for Colon.
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