Sabathia struggles in loss to Nationals

Nationals' righty Zimmerman stifles Yankees over four perfect innings
03/11/2014 5:15 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

CC Sabathia was disappointed with his outing on Tuesday against the Nationals.(AP)
The Yankees' only cross-state trip of the spring turned out to be a fruitless one, as the offense was stymied by Washington's Jordan Zimmermann en route to a 3-2 loss to the Nationals in Viera.

Zimmerman pitched four perfect innings for the Nationals and the Yankees recorded just four hits (and drew zero walks) overall, the first base-runner not coming until Eduardo Nunez hit a two-out triple in the fifth off reliever Drew Storen.

On the other side, CC Sabathia wasn't quite as sharp, reaching his 60 pitch limit quickly; Sabathia actually threw 61 pitches over three innings, allowing three runs on four hits in that span, and afterwards he told the media, in these exact terms, that "I sucked today."

"(I was) just kind of erratic, like all over the place. I couldn't really get my delivery down and try to push off, get some leverage throwing downhill," he said. "I don't know if I was just jumping off the mound or leaving too early. A couple times, (pitching coach) Larry (Rothschild) told me to just slow down and I threw a couple good pitches, but I only threw a couple good pitches out of 61."

The Yankees bullpen was great behind him, with five relievers allowing just three base-runners over the final five innings, but by then the Yanks were in a hole they could not escape.

Washington got on the board early, taking a 1-0 lead in the first thanks to some hustle by their catcher; with runners on first and third and one out, Wilson Ramos hit a chopper behind the second base bag that Scott Sizemore and Eduardo Nunez tried to turn two on but couldn't, allowing Anthony Rendon to score from third to make it 1-0.

Rendon then drove in a pair of his own in the second, ripping a two-out double to left that made it 3-0, and that was all the Nats would need.

Dean Anna followed Nunez's fifth-inning triple with an RBI single to cut the lead to 3-1, and the following inning, Zoilo Almonte's leadoff double eventually led to a Brett Gardner sacrifice fly that made it 3-2 but that would literally be all the Yankees could muster; Yangervis Solarte's single to lead off the eighth inning would account for the team's only other baserunner on the day, and Nationals pitching retired 12 of the final 13 batters they faced after Almonte's double.

As mentioned above, the Yankees bullpen was actually even better than Washington's in putting up a quintet of zeroes; Matt Daley allowed just a two-out walk in the fourth, and after Jim Miller (fifth) and David Herndon (sixth) pitched perfect innings, Cesar Cabral allowed a two-out walk in the seventh and Brian Gordon allowed the only other Nationals hit (but also struck out two) in the eighth.

With the loss, the Yankees drop to 7-5-1 in the Grapefruit League and 8-5-1 on the spring overall, and they will return to Tampa Wednesday to begin a span of three straight home games. The first, a clash with the Tigers, will see Hiroki Kuroda on the mound, and full coverage begins Wednesday at 1 p.m. on YES.

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