CLEVELAND — CC Sabathia made what was likely the final outing at Progressive Field of his storied career Saturday.
It didn’t go the way the 38-year-old left-hander hoped.
Not only did Sabathia (3-3) fail to get the 250th win of his career, he tweaked his bothersome right knee that landed him on the injured list from May 23-June 2.
Sabathia admitted he felt a sharp pain fielding Kevin Plawecki’s high chopper to the left of the mound to begin the fifth. Sabathia got to the ball quickly and made a strong throw to first for the out, but came up limping.
Following the game Sabathia was more focused on his tough day than any emotion he might have felt.
"Honestly, I didn’t feel like I had anything today," he said. "I didn’t feel like my stuff was sharp. They were just missing the ball."
Francisco Lindor doubled with two outs and Mercado, who hit his third home run since being called up May 14, pumped his fist after rounding first base and giving his team the lead.
Sabathia was removed after the fifth, allowing four runs. He began his career with the Indians in 2001 and is retiring after this season.
Adam Plutko (2-1), called up from Triple-A Columbus before the game admitted going against Sabathia made for a special day.
"I’ve been a huge fan of CC Sabathia for a long time," Plutko said. "It’s something that I’ll remember for sure for the rest of my life."
Roberto Perez homered in his fourth straight game — a two-run shot off Jonathan Holder in the sixth. He had an RBI double against Sabathia in the fourth.
"He’s been in the league for so long," Perez said. "He’s been an All-Star. He’s probably going to be a Hall of Famer. He’s always tough, man. Always tough."
The Indians have won four of five on their homestand against AL division leaders New York and Minnesota.
Didi Gregorius hit a home run in his second game back with New York this season. The Yankees have lost five of six.
Plawecki also homered off Holder in the sixth.
Plutko retired 16 of the final 17 hitters he faced following Gregorius’ homer in the first. The right-hander sent down the last 10 hitters, giving up two runs in six innings.
Gregorius had two hits Friday and played shortstop for the second straight game. Gleyber Torres, who missed two games with a sore left shoulder, started at second base and drove in a run.
Slumping Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner, hitless in his last 22 at-bats, suffered a cut lip when he threw his batting helmet against a dugout wall, only to have the protective gear ricochet back and hit him in the face.
The outburst occurred right after his bid for extra bases was denied by an outstanding catch in right field by Jordan Luplow in the sixth inning.
"It was just frustration building up, we gave up the lead," he said. "You hit a ball like that that’s an out, it’s just frustrating."
The helmet opened a gash on Gardner’s lower lip that required six stitches. He said getting the stitches hurt more than being hit with the helmet.
Mercado was down 0-2 in the count before hitting his home run off Sabathia.
"Those are usually the guys CC kind of can carve up because he’s a veteran and he’s been doing it for a long time," Indians manager Terry Francona said.
"Just trying to go backdoor slider," Sabathia said. "I know he had seen a couple in the game. I just left it up and he made a good swing."
Yankees: Put RHP Masahiro Tanaka, who was scheduled to start Sunday on the paternity leave list. Manager Aaron Boone said Tanaka will start Monday against the Mets. … Boone said RHP Dellin Betances (shoulder impingement) will be examined by team doctors in New York on Monday after feeling soreness in his shoulder/lat area while throwing at the team complex in Tampa, Florida. Boone said Betances threw Wednesday, but a session scheduled for Friday was scrubbed. "I think it’s good, but we want to run him through some more (tests)," Boone said … OF Giancarlo Stanton played in a simulated game after an extended spring training game was rained out. He was hit on the middle of the back by a pitch in his third plate appearance. He walked straight into the dugout, grabbed his gear and then walked to the clubhouse.
Yankees: Boone said reliever Chad Green will start Sunday in what will likely be a bullpen day.
Indians: RHP Shane Bieber (5-2, 3.57 ERA) has won his last three decisions.