Bronx, NY—The Yankees ended the first half of the season with a 1-0 victory over the Rays, highlighted by a brilliant pitching duel between C.C. Sabathia and James Shields. The win and the Sunday win by the Red Sox end the first half of the season with the Yanks in second place in the American League East, trailing Boston by one game.
Pitching was in the spotlight at Yankee Stadium, one day after Derek Jeter joined the 3,000 hit club in a totally unforgettable performance. It is relatively rare to see the two aces to engage in a pitching duel during which the two match one another with goose eggs on the scoreboard inning after inning. The highest expectations of lovers of good pitching were met on Sunday afternoon.
In fact, two pitching records that can never be bested were tied in the contest. There was not one RBI in the contest. Also, both starters pitched complete games.
Each of the two hurlers gave up four hits and walked one batter. Both located the ball where they wished and were clearly in the strike zone. Shields threw 75 strikes in 102 pitches and Sabathia threw 79 of 113.
Each lowered his impressively low ERA at the conclusion of the contest. Sabathia now has a 2.72 ERA and shields an ERA of 2.33.
Excellent Yankee defense supported Sabathia by eliminating three of the four Tampa batters who got hits. Third baseman Sean Rodriguez doubled to lead-off the second. He was thrown out attempting to steal by Yankees catcher Russell Martin. B.J. Upton singled with one out in the fourth and was also thrown out stealing by Martin. Upton singled again in the seventh. Rodriguez, the next batter, flied to Andruw Jones in right. The ten time Gold Glove winner doubled Upton off first with an accurate and quick throw to Mark Teixeira.
Poor Tampa defense in the bottom of the seventh led to the only run of the game. Robinson Cano began the inning with a single to right. Jorge Posada flied to center, but Upton trying to double Cano at first, threw the ball into the Yankees dugout which allowed Cano to go to third. A second out was then made. Shields then tried to pick Cano off third, but his poor throw led to Cano crossing the plate.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, “Neither guy was giving many opportunities. He [Sabathia] was matching Shields 0 for 0 for 0 for 0. He [Shields] just made a bad throw.”
Sabathia raised his record to 13-4. He was chosen to replace Shields on the American League All Star team. Shields was declared ineligible because he pitched on Sunday. Sabathia, who had reservations for a trip to the Caribbean, was also declared not eligible to play because he pitched on Sunday also.
Yankees reliever David Robertson was chosen to replace David Price to the All Star team. The youngster selected on Sunday to his first All Star game was surprised but elated, “I’d pretty much given up. I’m real excited to go. I’m glad for the opportunity.” Robertson has the lowest Era of any pitcher, 1.27, who has pitched at least 35 innings.
Derek Jeter beat out an infield hit with one on in the third. Girardi praised Jeter’s 3,004th hit, “It’s [the bunt] a smart play to get a base hit and get a guy in scoring position in a game I thought would be low scoring.”
After the All Star break concludes, the Yankees will begin an eight game road trip.”