Yankees humiliated after 22-0 loss to Tribe on Tuesday

Ronald Blum and Ronald Blum

The hits and runs kept coming, spinning by on the scoreboard as fast as symbols on a slot machine.It wasn’t just a rout, it was an epic defeat, the most one-sided in the 101-year history of the New York Yankees. Cleveland’s 22-0 victory Tuesday night matched the biggest post-1900 shutout margin in the major leagues, Pittsburgh’s win at the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 16, 1975.”There’s a certain element of embarrassment, no question,” Yankees’ manager Joe Torre said. “It’s hard to handle. It’s something you have to bounce back from.”New York’s $180 million collection of All-Stars led the AL East by 10 1/2 games on the morning of Aug. 16 and was expected to romp to its seventh straight division title. Now the Yankees are just 3 1/2 games ahead of Boston for the first time since the morning of June 19. The Red Sox beat Anaheim 10-7 on Tuesday night for their 19th win in 23 games.Omar Vizquel had six hits to tie the American League record for a nine-inning game, and Javier Vazquez (13-8) was knocked out after 1 1-3 innings, matching the shortest outing of his major league career.Cleveland set a record for runs by an opponent in a Yankees’ home game, finishing two shy of the most ever against the proud franchise, winner of a record 26 World Series titles.After watching his original hometown team make the Yankees resemble hapless Little Leaguers, New York owner George Steinbrenner refused to answer questions as he departed the ballpark. Yesterday, he issued a statement.”Sure, we got punished badly Tuesday night, but winners never quit and quitters never win,” Steinbrenner said. “New Yorkers never quit, and we reflect the spirit of New York.”Cleveland, which had lost eight straight games at Yankee Stadium since June 2001, scored three runs in each of the first three innings, then added six in the fifth. Jody Gerut and Victor Martinez hit three-run homers off Esteban Loaiza in the ninth.”It’s one game,” the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez said. “If we win 22-0, we’re not going to get credit for three victories.”New York had never lost by more than 18 runs, falling 24-6 at Cleveland on July 29, 1928, and 19-1 at home against Detroit on June 17, 1925.”They’ve got to come out here with a different attitude,” Posada said of his teammates. “We can’t worry about the Red Sox. We’ve got to worry about us, what we can do here.”Cleveland had season highs for runs and hits (22) and set a team record for largest shutout victory. Jake Westbrook (12-6) improved to 6-1 in his last nine starts, allowing five hits in seven innings. Jeremy Guthrie finished with hitless relief, extending the scoreless streak by Cleveland pitchers to 21 innings.Vazquez, his head bowed and wiping sweat off his face as he walked off to boos, gave up six runs. The Indians scored seven off Tanyon Sturtze and three against C.J. Nitkowski.”I thought I had good stuff today coming into the game,” said Vazquez, 2-4 in eight starts following New York losses.His stuff was good for Cleveland, which moved back over .500 at 67-66 and remained seven games behind AL Central-leading Minnesota. By the fifth, every Indians batter had scored and the top eight in the order all had RBIs.”Our goal is to make a final run at this thing,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said.Travis Hafner hit a three-run triple in the first, Coco Crisp homered and drove in three runs, and Vizquel and Martinez had four RBIs each. Vizquel had a chance for a seventh hit, but flied out in the ninth.”Every at-bat, you try to do what fits the situation,” he said. “I just happened to put the ball in play every time.”New York, booed early and often by the crowd of 51,777, has lost five straight home games for the first time since May 2003. Its season is beginning to resemble 1978 in reverse. The Yankees dropped to fourth place and trailed the Red Sox by 14 games after play on July 19 that year, then rebounded to win the AL East in a one-game playoff.The largest lead held by a team that failed to finish first was 11 games by the 1995 California Angels, according to Elias.”Your job is to be negative, is to look at the dark side,” Torre told reporters. “In this clubhouse, we don’t do that.”Rodriguez predicted a turnaround last night, when Orlando Hernandez (5-0) faced Cleveland’s C.C. Sabathia (10-8).