In fact, not a single player in baseball

By Ronald Blum Associated Press Published:

In fact, not a single player in baseball today was alive the last time the New York Yankees won by 20 runs.

And the last time they scored this many times at home, Lou Gehrig drove in four runs and Babe Ruth drove in three.

"I don't know if you can really explain it," Scott Brosius said Saturday after the Yankees' amazing 21-1 rout of the Cleveland Indians.

Chili Davis went 5-for-6 with six RBI, and Jorge Posada had a career-high four hits and drove in three runs.

And they did it against Cleveland, which had the best record in baseball before the Yankees' dramatic 10-9, 10-inning win in Friday's series opener.

New York manager Joe Torre compared it to a snowball picking up speed as it rolls down a hill. Actually, it was more like an avalanche.

By the seventh, the Yankees were ahead 18-0.

Ouch!

"There's nothing in the world you can do with a game like today," Indians manager Mike Hargrove said. "You just file it and move on."

The buzz afterwards was "message." Are the memories of this game going to carry into October, when the Yankees and Indians expect to meet each other in the AL championship series once again?

"I don't think it's going to do anything to lessen their confidence," Torre said. "If it wasn't for the experience of both clubs being in postseason play, I'd think you could make more of it."

Still, 21 runs is 21 runs.

It was the Yankees' biggest victory since routing the Washington Senators 22-1 on Aug. 12, 1953, a night when Yogi Berra drove in five runs and Whitey Ford went 4-for-5 at the plate.

It was their biggest victory margin at home since beating Washington 21-1 on July 4, 1927.

It was the first time New York reached 20 runs since a 21-7 rout at Kansas City on Aug. 19, 1962. And it was the most runs the Yankees scored at home since beating the Chicago White Sox 22-5 on July 26, 1931.

"Maybe there's a message there, but the Cleveland Indians are the type of team that can score 21 runs against you," Davis said.

Hideki Irabu (7-3), backed by 21 hits, won his seventh consecutive decision as New York won its fifth straight. Cleveland's only run off him came on Jacob Cruz's RBI single in the seventh.

"I tried to throw as if it was a very tight ballgame," Irabu said. "You never know when that lineup is going to explode."

Cleveland, which has lost eight of nine, gave up its most runs since a club-record 24-5 loss to Boston on Aug. 21, 1986.

Mark Langston (1-1), who in his previous appearance at Yankee Stadium gave up Tino Martinez's go-ahead grand slam in Game 1 of last year's World Series, was treated to a rude welcome and then got rocked for his worst loss in 11 years.

As he walked to the mound in the first, a videotape of Martinez's homer, which broke a 5-all tie and started New York to a sweep of San Diego, was shown on the stadium scoreboard.

Torre was livid, immediately calling upstairs for an explanation.

"The New York Yankees should be above that," he said. "I have no idea who's responsible for it."

The Yankees then quickly scored four runs in the first, added another in the fourth, and chased Langston in a seven-run fifth. Langston gave up nine runs for the first time since April 29, 1988 at Oakland when he was with Seattle, allowing 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings.

"Obviously, my stuff wasn't that good," Langston said.

Paul Assenmacher wasn't any better, giving up seven runs while retiring just four batters. And with Dwight Gooden unavailable because of a migraine, Friday night's starter, Tom Candiotti, became the next victim, allowing five runs while getting two outs.

"It's good to have a game like this against anybody," said Davis, who matched his career high for hits and raised his average to .299.

His two-run single in the first off the glove off center fielder Kenny Lofton put the Yankees ahead.

Davis then singled in the third, doubled with one out to start the big fifth, and also singled home the final run of the inning.

His three-run homer off Candiotti that capped a six-run sixth. In the seventh, he flied out to the warning track in right-center. In that last at-bat, after Candiotti fell behind in the count, Davis was swinging for the fence.

"I usually don't try to hit home runs," he said. "I said, 'Forget the sixth hit, get nine ribbies."'

Posada, 9-for-24 (.375) on the homestand, hit an RBI single in the first, singled in the fourth, finished off Langston with a two-run double in the fifth and singled in the seventh.

Hargrove, struggling to find outs, had an explanation that might have signaled an upcoming trade.

"What today's game showed," he said, "is a team very thin in the bullpen."

Notes: The Yankees reached 20 runs for the 20th time. ... The Yankees public address announcer Bob Sheppard didn't work the game because of laryngitis. ... Indians RHP Steve Karsay, on the DL since July 2 with a strained muscle, threw before the game and reported no discomfort. ... Cleveland catcher Sandy Alomar, on the DL since May 11 following left knee surgery, caught and said the knee felt fine. ... It was the most hits off Cleveland since Oakland got 24 in a 14-6 win last Aug. 28. It was the Yankees' most hits since they got 22 on Aug. 26, 1997, also at Oakland. ... Yankees sent 12 batters to the plate in the fifth, nine in the sixth and eight in the seventh. ... With the score 6-1, 3B Russell Branyan threw away Brosius' grounder in the fifth, helping create a big inning. ... The game drew 54,870, the Yankees' sixth home sellout.

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