Sabathia's three-hitter lifts Yanks over M'sAce fans 10, walks one to pick up his 11th win of the year
It was all CC Sabathia, all the time for the New York Yankees as they defeated the Seattle Mariners, 6-3, in the opening game of their three-game weekend set. Sabathia, now 11-3 this season, threw his second complete game of 2012.
He allowed three hits and three runs while striking out 10. Sabathia was, in a word, dominant. And the Mariners, who are second-to-last in the American League in runs scored, had no answers for the Yankees’ ace.
This was certainly a performance Sabathia wanted to have after pitching to two straight no-decisions in which he allowed nine earned runs in 13 innings to the Oakland A's and Boston Red Sox.
“I threw a horrible bullpen and I was going to tell Larry you should probably get somebody up, but everything started working when I took the mound,” Sabathia said.
“I thought it (his sinker) was really effective tonight,” Joe Girardi said after the game. “I saw some of the swings on some of his sinkers and even his sinkers into left-handers were effective tonight.”
Sabathia credited his two-seam fastball as a key reason he had his fourth game with at least 10 strikeouts this season.
“The two-seamer, I got a lot of missed swings on it,” he said. “It was just moving pretty good today. That was a lot of what you saw them swinging at and missing.”
“He just had great stuff tonight,” Russell Martin said of Sabathia's performance. “His two-seamer was working great for him. In against lefties, down against righties. He just had good command of everything really.”
Sabathia did let up a meaningless home run in the ninth to Dustin Ackley that closed the gap from a five-run to a three-run lead. But the outcome was never in doubt. The only prospect that was in doubt was if Sabathia would be allowed to close the game out himself after his poor start to the inning. Girardi walked out to the mound, and it looked as if he would end the ace’s night.
“I just told him ‘Let's go,’” Girardi said. “I wanted to make sure he felt alright. He said he was fine.”
The question of whether Sabathia and Martin can work together is also now a moot point. Chris Stewart had been his personal catcher for most of the season, and the question had been asked almost every time Sabathia took the mound without Martin behind the plate. This performance should definitely silence all of the questions for the time being.
“I want to get them back together,” Girardi said. “We had a day off yesterday and Russell's fresh -- as fresh as you're going to be in the month of August -- and I just felt it was time to do it.”
“Well I wanted to make sure that I got a good start tonight,” Martin jokingly said. “I know there have been some stories about that. I'm glad we got that behind us.”
Sabathia also got run support right from the start. Curtis Granderson, making only his fourth start as the Yankees’ leadoff hitter this season, drove in a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Later in the game, Eric Chavez hit a home run that just barely went over the glove of Mariners' right fielder Eric Thames to give the Yankees a 4-1 lead. The Yankee Stadium home run was all the Yanks needed as they cruised to the victory.
“When I hit that ball, I thought I got it a little bit better,” Chavez said. “Tex (Mark Teixeira) and I were kind of laughing about that today. I told him, I haven't had a cheap Yankee Stadium home run yet, so when I went in the dugout and Tex goes, ‘All you've got to do is ask for it.’”
However, in Chavez's next at-bat, the right ankle that he hurt in the Boston series started to bother him again when he planted his foot on a swing. Chavez wasn't worried about the severity of the injury after the game.
“Just get some ice on it and test it tomorrow and see how it feels,” Chavez said. “I don't foresee it being anything serious and hopefully in the next few days it'll be completely gone.”
Mark Teixeira also was a game-time decision tonight after a wrist injury on Monday. After taking several hacks in the cage, he and Girardi decided that it was time to return to the lineup and his usual spot at first base. He finished the game 1-for-4, but the key was that he felt fine afterward.
“I felt pretty good,” Teixeira said. “I didn't really expect this to be too big of an issue. Just a little soreness that you've got to take care of and I think that's where we are.”
The Yankees continue their set with the Mariners on Saturday. Seattle’s ace, Felix Hernandez, takes the mound, making this series-opening victory even more important.