Dominance was CC’s message to Mariners
I had this notion before Friday night’s game between the Yankees and the Mariners that maybe, just maybe, CC Sabathia might plug one of Seattle’s batters in the first inning. Nothing serious, mind you, no actual head hunting, but just an reminder that the last time these two teams faced each other a couple of weeks ago at Seattle the Yankees were hit by pitches three times and lost Alex Rodriguez for six to eight weeks because of a broken bone in his left hand.
Nothing like that occurred perhaps because Sabathia got into such a rhythm on the mound that he flirted with a perfect game into the fourth inning. Why hit somebody and louse that up? So even after he lost the perfecto on Casper Wells’ home run in the fourth Sabathia kept mowing down the Mariners with ease. He entered the ninth working on a two-hitter before Dustin Ackley took him deep with a two-run home run into the right field bleachers.
The Yankees were still up by three runs at that point. But when manager Joe Girardi walked to the mound with Rafael Soriano and David Phelps throwing in the bullpen Sabathia thought his game might be over.
“I just asked him if he was all right,” Girardi said. “He said yes, so I said, ‘Let’s get them and get out of here.’ I don’t worry about CC too much.”
“I was glad Joe let me finish,” Sabathia said. “So were the guys in the pen. They thanked me for giving them the night off.”
The 6-3 victory was the second complete game of the season for Sabathia, who improved his record to 11-3 with a 3.53 ERA. This sort of game is nothing new for him against the Mariners, who entered the game on a seven-game winning streak. Sabathia has won his past eight starts against Seattle dating to Aug. 13, 2009, a span in which he has pitched to a 1.20 ERA over 60 innings.
Sabathia has won at least 11 games in each of his first 12 seasons, becoming the fourth pitcher since 1900 to do that, joining Don Sutton (first 17 seasons, 1966-82), Eddie Plank (first 16 seasons, 1901-16) and Tom Seaver (first 13 seasons, 1967-79).
Sabathia and catcher Russell Martin, who caught the lefthander for the first time since April 11, agreed that CC’s best weapon was his two-seam fastball that had very effective sinking action. Other than the home runs, a double by Miguel Olivo and three fly outs to right field were the only balls off Sabathia to leave the infield. He had 10 strikeouts and 14 other outs in the infield.
Curtis Granderson, batting leadoff for the fourth time this season, had a two-run single in the third inning that for a while appeared to be all the offense Sabathia would need. As it turned out, Eric Chavez’s two-run home run in the sixth and RBI singles by Robinson Cano and Raul Ibanez in the seventh came in handy.
It was an ensemble effort by the offense as everyone in the starting lineup had at least one hit, including Ichiro Suzuki, who has had one hit in each of his 10 games since joining the Yankees.
“I’d love to have that every night,” Girardi said.
Chavez’s home run, his 10th, was just beyond the reach of right fielder Eric Thames.
“I had told Mark Teixeira in the dugout that I haven’t had a cheap Yankee Stadium home run yet,” Chavez said. “When I got to the dugout after the homer, he said, ‘All you had to do was ask for it.’ ”