Robbie subs for Mo to preserve CC victory
The first call to the bullpen for a ninth-inning reliever other than Mariano Rivera went to David Robertson Friday night in the Yankees’ 6-2 victory over the Royals. As the score suggests, it was not a save situation, but it was a spot likely to have been handled by Rivera. The Yankees were trying to end a three-game losing streak and needed to be certain to finish off the strong, eight-inning performance by CC Sabathia.
Yeah, this was the kind of no-save situation that would have fit into Mo’s jurisdiction. As Alex Rodriguez wisely put it Thursday night after learning that Rivera would probably be lost for the rest of the season, no one is going to feel sorry for the Yankees. They hitched up their belts and used a four-run seventh inning to break open a tight game and get back on a winning track.
Sabathia coughed up a 2-0, first-inning lead provided by Mark Teixeira’s fourth home run by allowing run-scoring doubles by Alex Gordon and Jeff Francoeur in the bottom half but settled in nicely and set down 10 batters in a row before Eric Hosmer tripled with two out in the sixth. CC retired Francouer to strand Hosmer and followed with two more scoreless innings to be in position for the winning decision after his teammates unloaded on Royals starter Bruce Chen after two were out in the seventh.
Eduardo Nunez regained the lead for the Yankees with a triple to score Robinson Cano, who had led off the inning with a single. Chris Stewart, who has done a terrific job behind the plate with Sabathia, helped his pitcher with his bat as well with a single to score Nunez. Derek Jeter hit his fifth home run, only one fewer than he had all of last season, to end Chen’s night on the way to keeping his league-leading batting average at .404
Robertson finished it off powerfully by striking out the side in the ninth. Mo could not have done it better.
Sabathia improved to 4-0 with a 4.15 ERA. His success with Stewart catching continued. After posting a 6.75 ERA and having opposing hitters bat .320 against him in his first two starts with Russell Martin behind the plate, Sabathia in his past four starts working with Stewart is 4-0 with a 3.26 ERA and has limited opponents to a .190 average.
The victory also raised CC’s record with the Yankees to 40 games over .500 at 63-23 with a 3.24 ERA in 748 1/3 innings.