Bronx, NY—The Yanks failed to sweep a three game series with Tampa and go into first place in the American League East as they lost to the Rays, 7-3 on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium in a lengthy and rain delayed contest.
Baseball purists happily anticipated the seventh meeting of mound aces, CC Sabathia and David Price. Although neither pitched at his best, each did not pitch badly.
Price tied James Shields on the Tampa starting staff by earning his eighth win of the 2012 season. His lack of control in the second, two walks and a wild pitch led to the only run he surrendered. He limited the Yankees to three isolated singles in the five innings he pitched.
The key opportunity the Yankees had to score several runs came in the final inning Price hurled. Chris Stewart singled to lead-off the inning. Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira each walked. With one out, Alex Rodriguez came to the plate. Many in the stands were hoping A-Rod would tie the game at 5 by blasting his 23rd grand slam homer. The blow, if hit, would have tied the major league mark of Lou Gehrig. The 11 pitch at bat ended with a-Rod striking out. Robinson Cano ended the contest by grounding out to second.
After throwing 109 pitches, Price was removed from the game at the conclusion of the fifth inning. Yankees skipper Joe Girardi credited Price with a game well pitched, “He threw well. I thought Price pitched pretty good. (sic) We had some opportunities, but we couldn’t get much off him. That’s the bottom line.”
The workhorse of the Yankees rotation, CC Sabathia, hurled 121 pitches in seven innings. All the seven hits and five runs he surrendered came in three frames, the second, third and fourth. Teo of the runs in the third were unearned, coming off a throwing error by third baseman Alex Rodriguez.
Sabathia, the ultimate team player, said of the error, “It’s just part of the game.” He took responsibility for the runs by blaming “just not hitting the location.”
The Yankee ace improved as the game continued. He said, “The last three innings, I felt pretty good.” His feelings were reflected in his work as he retired 11 of the final 12 batters he faced, six by strikeout.
Sabathia fanned 12 batters. The game was only his third career loss in a game in which he struck out 10 or more batters.
The first installment of the annual Subway Series will begin on Friday night. The Mets will be traveling across town to visit Yankee Stadium. Johan Santana (3-2) will attempt to tie the mark of Johnny Vandemeer by pitching his second consecutive no-hitter. Hiroki Kuroda (4-6) will take the mound for the Yankees.