Bronx, NY—After dropping the opening contest of a wrap around weekend series with the Boston Red Sox, 6-3, the Yanks rebounded on Saturday afternoon with a 5-2 victory. The New York win coupled with Boston and Tampa losses increased the Yanks margin over Tampa to 1.5 games and over Boston by 6 games.
CC Sabathia continued his mastery over opponents on the mound of Yankee Stadium. The Yankee ace remained in the game for 8 innings and threw 101 pitches. He gave up two runs, six hits and one base on balls. Other than surrendering the two runs in the second, Sabathia pitched excellently. He only allowed three baserunners in his final six innings, two singles and an error. Sabathia has not lost a decision in his last 18 starts in the new ballpark. His marks in those 18 games is 13-0, an ERA of 2.25 and an opponent’s batting average of .207.
Yankee skipper Joe Girardi cited two reasons for Sabathia’s well pitched game, “Maybe it was the extra day’s rest. He had a new baby. Maybe that helped him.” The starter accepted one of the reasons and laughingly rejected the second, “I think so [extra day’s rest]. My fastball was a lot better than it’s been. I was throwing the fastball over the plate. I think that helped my secondary stuff.” Of the new baby boy, Sabathia said, “It was an exciting week for us. We’re kind of used to it. All I did was have to be there for support.”
Sabathia’s win was his 14th of the 2010 season, tying David Price and Carl Pavano (yes, the former Yankee Carl Pavano) for the lead in the American League. The workhorse of the starting rotation has pitched more than 6.0 innings and thrown at least 100 pitches in 17 of his 24 starts this year. Girardi described him as, “More of an inning’s eater. He’s very helpful.” He explained that the bullpen gets some rest during the days that Sabathia starts. Sabathia is tied with Felix Hernandez for starts with 24 and is second to Hernandez in innings pitched with 166.
The career victory was Sabathia’s 150th. Asked of its importance to him, The hurler remarked, “Maybe one day, I’ll look back and say it was cool.” Right new, his concern and focus is the pennant race.
Alex Rodriguez was hit in the leg by a ball hit by Yankee newcomer Lance Berkman during batting practice and was unable to play. The x-rays were negative and after the game, Girardi explained, “He’s got a contusion. He was in a substantial amount of pain. He’s day to day.”
Rodriguez was replaced by Ramiro Pena, who made a big contribution ti the victory. In the second, Pena knocked in Curtis Granderson, who was on third after hitting a triple, with a grounder. Pena again drove Granderson across the plate in the sixth by hitting a single to right. Pena makes his hits count as he has 13 runs batted in and only 20 base hits. Girardi commented, “he’s been really good in those situations.”
Four consecutive singles in the fifth inning by Nick Swisher, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada with two out accounted for the winning runs.
Mariano Rivera earned his 23rd save with a perfect ninth inning, a ground ball and two strikeouts.