Rick Sutcliffe held the Yankees to seven hits last night and Julio Franco drove in three runs as the Cleveland Indians drubbed the visiting New Yorkers, 9-0.
Sutcliffe (7-2) struck out four and walked two as the Indians won for only the ninth time in their last 27 games. He led the AL last year with a 2.96 earned run average, and in pitching his second shutout and fourth complete game this season lowered his ERA to 3.41. It was his sixth victory in his last seven decisions; the 26-year-old right-hander is 21-10 in two seasons since coming to the Indians from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Sutcliffe ran his total of runners picked off base to seven this season when he ended Yankee rallies in the second and third innings. Don Baylor was picked off first with one out in the second and Butch Wynegar followed with a double to right. After Andre Robertson was picked off second with one out in the third, Griffey singled and Graig Nettles walked.
"We players had a closed-door meeting before the game," Sutcliffe said. "I think it did a lot of good. There's a bunch of people in this ballclub who don't like to lose."
Jay Howell (0-3) took the loss, New York's third straight and eighth in its last 11 games. The Indians had 15 hits, Franco, Broderick Perkins and Toby Harrah each getting three against three Yankees pitchers.
Adding injury to insult, the Yankees announced that ace reliever Rich Gossage will miss a couple of games because of what he described as "a knot" under his right arm, the same kind of injury that last year kept him from pitching several weeks.