|N.Y. Yankees (99-56) «||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||2||x||3||7||0|
NEW YORK -- Put the bubbly on ice for the first clinching celebration at the new Yankee Stadium. With another dominant performance by CC Sabathia, the New York Yankees' magic number for winning the AL East is down to one.
"We've got a lot of work left to do," Sabathia said after smothering the Boston Red Sox by allowing just one hit over seven innings in a 3-0 victory Saturday. Then the big man quickly added: "It feels good right now."
Sabathia (19-7) combined on a two-hitter with Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera to become the major leagues' first 19-game winner, Robinson Cano hit a tiebreaking, opposite-field homer in the sixth against Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-6) that bounced off the top of the left-field fence and Johnny Damon slapped a soft, two-run single in the eighth off Billy Wagner.
Already assured of no worse than the wild card, the Yankees (99-56) have won eight of nine against their rival after starting the season 0-8 against Boston (91-63). They can wrap up their first division title since 2006 on Sunday when they play the Red Sox for the final time this season.
"We need one win basically in the next seven games," manager Joe Girardi said. "You'd like to clinch as soon as possible so you could maybe give the guys a couple days and make sure that you keep them well-rested and strong."
Boston's magic number for a playoff berth stayed stuck at three.
"I don't think it matters," Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis said. "Both of us are probably going to the playoffs unless we don't do something right."
Sabathia pitched 5 2/3 hitless innings against Red Sox on Aug. 8 before Jacoby Ellsbury singled and threw shutout ball over 7 2/3 innings that day. This time he retired his first 11 batters before walking Victor Martinez in the fourth, and he allowed his only hit when Mike Lowell singled up the middle past second baseman Cano leading off the fifth.
Sabathia struck out eight and walked two, lowering his ERA to 3.21. He is 9-0 with a 2.04 ERA in his last 11 starts and has matched his career high for wins, set with Cleveland two years ago. He'll get a chance to reach 20 at Tampa Bay on Friday night.
"He's been everything that we have asked for and more," Girardi said. "He is an ace."
Sabathia was pitching on six days' rest after going on five in each of his previous two starts. Last year with Milwaukee, he had just three days' rest for his last four appearances.
"It definitely feels good to have a lead and be able to get the extra days off," he said. "Last year, I think it took a toll on me mentally more than it did physically."
No shocker here: Girardi said Sabathia will start the Yankees' postseason opener.
"I think the extra rest has really helped him," the manager said. "We want to make sure he's really strong going into October."
In his third start following nearly two months on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder, Matsuzaka pitched to Martinez for the first time and allowed one run and six hits in seven innings, walked five and hit a batter.
"I don't think my pitching was entirely bad," he said through a translator. "It was a step in the right direction."
Through five innings, the Yankees were 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine runners, including six on second or third. Cano homered leading off the bottom of the sixth, giving him 100 runs and 199 hits this season.
Now for Sunday, and perhaps the first clincher at the new field.
"We haven't gotten there yet," Yankees captain Derek Jeter said.
|CC Sabathia allows 1 hit in seven innings to best Dice-K and lower the Yanks' magic number to one. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
New Era Boston Red Sox Fitted Hat
$34.95 Shop Now!
|Boston Red Sox|
|Jacoby Ellsbury, CF||4||0||0||0||0||2||1||.300|
|Dustin Pedroia, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||2||1||.297|
|Victor Martinez, C||3||0||1||0||1||0||0||.301|
|Kevin Youkilis, 1B||2||0||0||0||0||1||1||.303|
|Mike Lowell, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||2||2||.290|
|David Ortiz, DH||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||.236|
|Rocco Baldelli, RF||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.259|
|a- J.D. Drew, PH-RF||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.269|
|Jed Lowrie, SS||2||0||0||0||0||1||1||.153|
|b- Casey Kotchman, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.272|
|Chris Woodward, SS||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.221|
|Brian Anderson, LF||1||0||0||0||1||0||0||.235|
|c- Josh Reddick, PH-LF||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.196|
|a-grounded out for Baldelli in the 8th|
|b-struck out for Lowrie in the 8th|
|c-struck out for Anderson in the 8th|
|SB - Mike Lowell (2, 2nd base off Sabathia/Molina)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|DP - Martinez|
|E - Chris Woodward (5, Missed catch of throw(Play actually went 2-5-2-6EC))|
|Boston Red Sox|
|Daisuke Matsuzaka (L,3-6)||7||6||1||1||5||3||1||6.08|
|HBP - Jeter (by Daisuke Matsuzaka), Cabrera (by Billy Wagner)|
|WP - Billy Wagner (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Daisuke Matsuzaka 115-65, Billy Wagner 35-17, Daniel Bard 4-3|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Daisuke Matsuzaka 9-8, Daniel Bard 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Daisuke Matsuzaka 32, Billy Wagner 6, Daniel Bard 1|
|New York Yankees|
|Derek Jeter, SS||3||0||2||0||1||1||3||.332|
|Johnny Damon, LF||4||0||1||2||1||0||3||.284|
|Mark Teixeira, 1B||4||0||1||0||1||1||3||.293|
|Alex Rodriguez, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||1||6||.286|
|Hideki Matsui, DH||4||0||1||0||0||1||3||.280|
|Nick Swisher, RF||2||0||1||0||2||0||3||.249|
|Brett Gardner, PR-CF||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||.279|
|Robinson Cano, 2B||3||1||1||1||1||1||3||.321|
|Melky Cabrera, CF-RF||3||1||0||0||0||0||2||.270|
|Jose Molina, C||3||0||0||0||1||0||4||.216|
|HR - Robinson Cano (24, Matsuzaka)|
|RBI - Johnny Damon 2 (79), Robinson Cano (80)|
|2-OUT RBI - Johnny Damon 2 (33)|
|SB - Johnny Damon (12, 2nd base off Matsuzaka/Martinez), Brett Gardner (24, 3rd base off Wagner/Martinez)|
|Team LOB - 12|
|DP - Jeter-Teixeira|
|New York Yankees|
|CC Sabathia (W,19-7)||7||1||0||0||2||8||0||3.21|
|Phil Hughes (H,18)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||2.99|
|Mariano Rivera (S,43)||1||1||0||0||0||2||0||1.85|
|HBP - Youkilis (by CC Sabathia), Youkilis (by Mariano Rivera)|
|WP - Mariano Rivera (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - CC Sabathia 96-57, Phil Hughes 13-8, Mariano Rivera 20-15|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - CC Sabathia 6-6, Phil Hughes 1-0, Mariano Rivera 1-0|
|Batters Faced - CC Sabathia 24, Phil Hughes 3, Mariano Rivera 5|
|Attendance - 48809|
|Game Time - 3:07|
|Temperature - 63|
|Umpires - Home - Jeff Kellogg, First Base - Chad Fairchild, Second Base - Bill Welke, Third Base - Tim Welke|