The rain never did completely stop, and the Indians couldn’t slow down David Cone and the Yankees, either.
Cone won for the ninth time in 10 starts and Tino Martinez drove in three runs as New York tied a major league record by winning or splitting its 24th straight series with a soggy 4-2 victory over Cleveland at New York.
Heavy rains postponed the first two games of the three-game set, the first meeting between the clubs since last October’s AL playoffs, and the finale began in a light rain and was played in at least a constant drizzle throughout.
“I thought I’d never be bored coming to New York City, but two days in a hotel room with nothing to do, that’ll do it,” said Indians Manager Mike Hargrove. “It was good to play.”
New York, which hasn’t lost a series since dropping two games to open the season at Anaheim, tied the 1912 Boston Red Sox and 1970 Cincinnati Reds for most consecutive non-losing series in a season. During their streak, the Yankees have won three one-game sets and split five series.
The Yankees, who won for the 10th time in 11 games, didn’t so much sweep the Indians as squeegee them.
“It took a long time to get them here,” New York Manager Joe Torre said after the teams’ first meeting since Oct. 6. “And once we did we couldn’t play.”
Cone (9-1) struck out 12 and gave up only four hits in eight innings. The right-hander, who struck out 14 against Florida in his last start, is unbeaten in his last nine decisions.
The rainouts had pushed Cone’s start back two days. Before his start against the Marlins last Sunday, he had missed his turn after being bitten by his mother’s dog.
“Ironically, the dog bite that I had on my finger probably helped me,” he said. “It was a blessing. It gave me a little extra rest and gave my shoulder a break and made me throw my fastball and curveball a lot more. . . Maybe I’ll just pitch every Sunday.”
Jaret Wright (5-4), who beat the Yankees twice in last year’s division series, gave up three runs and six hits in six innings.
New York rookie Ricky Ledee singled in his first major league at-bat, and Mariano Rivera gave up an RBI groundout in the ninth before getting his 13th save.
Boston 3, Tampa Bay 2--Troy O’Leary got two hits for the sixth game in a row, including a one-out single in the 10th inning at Boston, that gave the Red Sox their fourth consecutive win.
Nomar Garciaparra singled off Albie Lopez (2-2) to start the 10th and Mike Benjamin, who pinch-ran for Mo Vaughn earlier, bunted for a single.
After Reggie Jefferson lined out against reliever Matt Ruebel, O’Leary bounced Jim Mecir’s fourth pitch down the first-base line past Fred McGriff for the winning run.
Lou Merloni had three singles for the Red Sox, who posted their 10th last at-bat win of the season.
Bobby Smith had a solo homer and Wade Boggs went three-for-five for the Devil Rays, who lost for the ninth time in their last 11 games.
Tampa Bay collected 13 hits, but left nine runners on and hit into three double plays.
Kansas City 2, Detroit 0--Glendon Rusch scattered seven hits at Kansas City, in his first major league shutout.
Rusch (4-8), who had lost five decisions in a row, walked no one and struck out five. He never faced more than four batters in an inning and permitted only one runner past first base.
Rusch, making his 41st start in the big leagues, won for the first time since defeating the Blue Jays, 7-4, on April 30.
Johnny Damon gave the Royals a 1-0 lead two pitches into the first inning, homering off rookie Seth Greisinger (0-2). Luis Rivera added an RBI single in the sixth.
Minnesota 2, Chicago 1--LaTroy Hawkins pitched seven strong innings and Orlando Merced went three-for-four to lead Minnesota at Minneapolis.
Hawkins (4-6), who lost his last two decisions and had not won a game since May 23, gave up just four hits and struck out five. The only run scored against him was unearned.
Rick Aguilera pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 13th save. He has been successful on eight save chances in a row.
The Twins had averaged just two runs per game in Hawkins’ six losses, but that was enough on Sunday.
Toronto 7, Baltimore 4--Ed Sprague hit a three-run homer and Roger Clemens struggled for his seventh victory at Toronto.
Sprague homered off Pete Smith (0-1) in the fifth to give the Blue Jays a 6-4 lead. Clemens (7-6) gave up four runs and six hits and five walks in 5 1/3 innings.
Randy Myers pitched the ninth for his 18th save, and second consecutive against his former team.
Smith, acquired from San Diego on Tuesday for minor league pitcher Eric Estes, gave up six runs and 10 hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings.
Toronto scored four runs in the fifth. Jose Canseco and Carlos Delgado drew consecutive walks, Mike Stanley flied out to move Canseco to third, Darrin Fletcher singled in a run, and Sprague followed with his sixth homer.
Stanley added an RBI single in the sixth.