|N.Y. Yankees (90-65) «||0||0||6||0||0||2||0||0||0||8||11||0|
Sabathia struck out 10 batters over eight innings and New York beat the Minnesota Twins 8-2 on Wednesday to remain 1½ games ahead of Baltimore in the AL East.
The Orioles beat Toronto 12-2 on Wednesday night. The Yankees visit the Blue Jays for four games starting Thursday. Baltimore, after an off day, plays Boston at home this weekend. Sabathia will pitch again next week when the Yankees host the Red Sox.
"This is what he can do. He can string a bunch of good ones together. And if there's a time, now's the time," manager Joe Girardi said.
Sabathia (14-6) threw 89 of his 118 pitches for strikes, including three straight to Twins All-Star Joe Mauer for the second of his three strikeouts in the fourth inning. Mauer, who began the day three points in the batting race behind Detroit's Triple Crown chaser Miguel Cabrera with a .326 average, went 0 for 4.
|More on Yankees-Twins|
|More MLB coverage|
"That's the best I've seen him, and I've been watching him for a long time," Mauer said. "When I was up there he was both sides of the plate: fastball, slider, sinker. He threw me everything, and everything was working."
Sabathia spent two stints on the disabled list this summer, for a strained left groin and an inflamed left elbow. This was his first win in six starts, and he credited impeccable command of his fastball to set up his other pitches.
"We're in a race. We know it's going to be tough. So you want to go out and do well every time out," Sabathia said, adding: "Hopefully I can go out and pitch well again the next time. I'll take what I can out of this one and be ready to go five days from now."
Robinson Cano hit a two-run double and Curtis Granderson added a two-run triple during a six-run third inning against Brian Duensing (4-11), and Sabathia took care of the rest. The burly lefty gave up six hits, two runs and one walk.
Sabathia improved to 10-0 with a 1.96 ERA in his past 11 appearances against the Twins, including the 2009 and 2010 postseason. He threw eight scoreless innings in his previous start against Oakland, striking out 11, but didn't get the victory because the Yankees won in the 10th. Matt Carson and Pedro Florimon had RBI singles, but that was about the only solid contact Sabathia allowed.
Chris Dickerson also hit a two-run homer for the Yankees, who lost to the Twins on Tuesday night and played without third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who has a bruised left foot. Derek Jeter's 19-game hitting streak ended with an 0-for-4 afternoon, but he walked and scored in the third.
The Yankees enjoyed a tension-free afternoon while winning for the 12th time in their past 16 games. Even the bad plays turned out all right.
Granderson was picked off first base in the second inning, but he scored on a wild pitch in the third.
Eric Chavez, thinking there were two outs instead of one in the fifth inning, casually fielded a grounder at third and stepped on the base for the force as he jogged toward the dugout before stopping and realizing his mistake. Sabathia shouted assurance to Chavez, whose embarrassed "oops" expression was frozen on the jumbo video screen above left-center field to the crowd's amusement.
"I'm glad they were entertained," Chavez said, smiling.
But after a passed ball by Chris Stewart put runners at second and third and threatened to exploit Chavez's blunder, Sabathia calmly retired Denard Span on a groundout to first to keep the lead at 6-1. If Chavez had tried to turn the double play, he might've only got one out anyway, Girardi said, which would've led to a run on the passed ball.
"Sometimes things work out right," Girardi said.
Starter Samuel Deduno struck out two without a hit or a run despite two walks. After the second one, though, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and assistant athletic trainer Dave Pruemer came to the mound for a long talk with the right-hander with two outs in the second inning. The diagnosis was irritation in his left eye, and Deduno was removed for Duensing.
He put seven straight runners on, including two walks, before finishing the inning. Duensing, who started a postseason game against the Yankees in 2009 and 2010, let his ERA rise from 4.68 to 5.15.
"I feel like we're playing our best ball now, and this is the perfect time to be doing that," said Nick Swisher, who had an RBI single.
|CC Sabathia gives manager Joe Girardi (28) eight strong innings, striking out 10, against the Twins. (US Presswire)|
|Players of the Game|
|New York Yankees|
|Ichiro Suzuki, RF||5||1||2||0||0||1||2||.283|
|Brett Gardner, LF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.321|
|Derek Jeter, SS||4||1||0||0||1||1||1||.320|
|Robinson Cano, 2B||5||1||2||2||0||2||0||.297|
|Nick Swisher, 1B||4||1||1||1||1||1||1||.262|
|Curtis Granderson, CF||5||1||1||2||0||1||2||.229|
|Eric Chavez, 3B||2||0||0||0||2||1||0||.283|
|Raul Ibanez, DH||4||1||2||0||0||1||1||.236|
|Chris Stewart, C||3||0||1||0||1||0||1||.245|
|Chris Dickerson, LF-RF||4||2||2||2||0||1||3||.333|
|2B - Robinson Cano 2 (43, Duensing, Perdomo), Raul Ibanez (19, Swarzak)|
|3B - Curtis Granderson (4, Duensing)|
|HR - Chris Dickerson (2, Swarzak)|
|RBI - Robinson Cano 2 (82), Nick Swisher (90), Curtis Granderson 2 (97), Chris Dickerson 2 (5)|
|PK - Curtis Granderson (1, Deduno)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|PB - Chris Stewart (8)|
|New York Yankees|
|CC Sabathia (W,14-6)||8||6||2||2||1||10||0||3.42|
|Pitches-Strikes - CC Sabathia 118-89, Cody Eppley 17-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - CC Sabathia 9-5, Cody Eppley 2-0|
|Batters Faced - CC Sabathia 31, Cody Eppley 4|
|Denard Span, CF||4||0||0||0||0||0||4||.286|
|Ben Revere, RF||4||0||0||0||0||2||0||.288|
|Joe Mauer, DH||4||0||0||0||0||3||0||.323|
|Ryan Doumit, C||4||1||1||0||0||1||0||.275|
|Chris Parmelee, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||2||0||.238|
|Matt Carson, LF||4||0||1||1||0||2||0||.245|
|Jamey Carroll, 3B||2||1||1||0||1||0||1||.265|
|a- Chris Herrmann, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.091|
|Alexi Casilla, 2B||4||0||2||0||0||0||2||.233|
|Pedro Florimon, SS||3||0||1||1||0||1||2||.244|
|a-singled for Carroll in the 9th|
|RBI - Matt Carson (3), Pedro Florimon (9)|
|2-OUT RBI - Pedro Florimon (2)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Casilla-Florimon-Parmelee|
|Brian Duensing (L,4-11)||1||5||6||6||2||1||0||5.15|
|WP - Brian Duensing (4), Luis Perdomo (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Samuel Deduno 30-15, Brian Duensing 31-19, Anthony Swarzak 37-28, Kyle Waldrop 30-19, Luis Perdomo 18-12|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Samuel Deduno 2-0, Brian Duensing 2-0, Anthony Swarzak 5-1, Kyle Waldrop 3-1|
|Batters Faced - Samuel Deduno 6, Brian Duensing 10, Anthony Swarzak 13, Kyle Waldrop 8, Luis Perdomo 4|
|Attendance - 33251|
|Game Time - 2:54|
|Temperature - 59|
|Umpires - Home - Doug Eddings, First Base - Kerwin Danley, Second Base - Paul Nauert, Third Base - Dana DeMuth|