After starting off slowly, the New York Yankees have strung together back-to-back strong offensive performances -- with a former Cleveland Indians slugger leading the attack.
Travis Hafner will look to make his former team pay again Tuesday night as New York meets Cleveland at Progressive Field.
The Yankees (3-4) totaled 17 runs while starting the season 1-4, but have 18 runs on 26 hits over their last two, including an 11-6 win at Cleveland in the series opener Monday.
Hafner -- playing his first game against the team he spent the past 10 years with -- connected on a three-run homer in his first at-bat and later drove in another run. Hafner has hit safely in his first seven games with the Yankees, going 9 for 23 (.391) with four walks.
1-0, 1.13 ERA
4/4 vs BOS
8.0 IP, 1 ER
Dec = Win
0-0, 0.00 ERA
Robinson Cano also homered twice, possibly putting some early-season struggles to rest. Cano was hitting .130 without an extra-base hit or RBI before Monday, when he also doubled.
Perhaps facing the Indians is the perfect cure for Cano, who has hit safely in 12 straight contests against Cleveland. He's 22 for 47 (.468) with four home runs during that span.
"I haven't even seen anything change Robbie's attitude no matter what he's going through," manager Joe Girardi said. "I wasn't worried."
Monday was a disappointing home opener for the Indians (3-4), who had ignited fan excitement after spending $120 million in free agency.
Tuesday may not be any easier as they could be without the red-hot bat of Carlos Santana, who left in the ninth inning with a bruised left thumb from attempting to catch a Chris Perez pitch. Cleveland said Santana, who was 13 of 26 with four doubles and two homers, would undergo X-rays.
Nick Swisher, one of the Indians' offseason additions, didn't have quite as notable of a day against his former team as Hafner. Swisher was 1 for 3 and is 5 for 25 thus far with his new team.
"Obviously, you wish you could have pulled out a 'W' in a game like that," said Swisher, who also walked twice. "But just the excitement that was there, just that feeling, that aura in the stadium, that was fun to be a part of."
Manager Terry Francona said former Yankee Jason Giambi will join the Indians' roster Tuesday after beginning the season on the disabled list with a back injury, though Giambi may not get an opportunity at the plate with fellow southpaw Andy Pettitte taking the mound for New York.
Pettitte will try to build off a strong season debut in which he held the Red Sox to one run on eight hits over eight innings Thursday in a 4-2 win.
He'll be opposed by Carlos Carrasco, who's making his first major league start since Aug. 3, 2011. The right-hander, who had to serve a five-game suspension for throwing at Kansas City's Billy Butler in his second-to-last appearance in the majors, is taking over the injured Scott Kazmir's spot in Cleveland's rotation.
He's 10-15 with a 4.93 ERA over 33 career starts.
Pettitte is 2-0 with a 2.01 ERA in his last four starts against Cleveland. Carrasco went 1-1 in two starts against the Yankees in 2011, allowing six runs on 15 hits over 11 innings.
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