Results tagged ‘ Elliott Johnson ’

CC touched for 5 dingers

Perhaps CC Sabathia will be the odd man out when Yankees manager Joe Girardi cuts the current six-man rotation back to five next week.

Only joking.

The adventures of the six-man rotation continued Friday night as Sabathia pitched as if he were facing the Red Sox. What a strange outing for CC, who gave up five runs on five solo homers. The Rays were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position but didn’t need any clutch hits to post a 5-1 victory over the Yankees because of those home runs.

The night got off to a tense start with talk about the rotation centering on general manager Brian Cashman’s fierce defense of A.J. Burnett before the game. Media reports have focused on whether Burnett or Phil Hughes will be the starter bounced from the rotation when the Yankees head for the road Monday. Cashman said that reporters were off base to suggest Burnett’s expensive contract was a factor in the decision. The G.M. did say that Ivan Nova is a lock to stay in the rotation, so it appears that the decision will come from among Burnett, Hughes, Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia.

Friday night notwithstanding, Sabathia will remain the staff ace. The five home runs were half the amount of hits allowed by the big lefthander, but he had seven strikeouts and did not walk a batter. CC said he lacked fastball command with a lot of pitches up in the zone, and he didn’t have the opportunity to throw many changeups. One of those was a hanger to Kelly Shoppach, a .183 hitter, for one of the home runs. The other four were off fastballs.

Sabathia had not allowed more than one home run in any of his previous 25 starts this season before giving up back-to-back shots in the second inning to Casey Kotchman and Shoppach. Later in the inning, Johnny Damon also went deep. It marked only the second time in Sabathia’s career that he yielded three homers in an inning. The other game was May 1, 2007 for the Indians against the Blue Jays.

Elliott Johnson, who is batting .182, joined the parade in the fifth, and Evan Longoria, who has struggled all year and is down to .232, hit an opposite-field drive in the eighth. The five home runs equaled the total Sabathia gave up over his first 21 starts of the season. He had never allowed more than three homers in a game in his major-league career.

It marked the sixth time in franchise history that a Yankees pitcher allowed five dingers in a game. The others were Joe Ostrowski June 22, 1950 at Cleveland, John Cumberland in the second game of a doubleheader May 24, 1970 at Cleveland, Ron Guidry Sept. 17, 1985 at Detroit, Jeff Weaver July 21, 2002 at Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox and David Wells July 4, 2003 at the Stadium against the Red Sox.

The Yankees lead the league in home runs but came up empty against David Price, who beat them for the first time in four starts this year. The only run the lefthander allowed was in the fourth on a double by Andruw Jones, but a perfect relay from right fielder Ben Zobrist to second baseman Sean Rodriguez to Shoppach cut down Nick Swisher trying to score a second run on the hit at the plate, and the Yanks didn’t come close to scoring again.

The game followed a strange pattern for the Yankees, whose record in first games of series fell to 19-20. They have rebounded to go 26-12 in the second game of series and look forward to doing the same Saturday with Hughes on the mound.

A piece of good news is that Alex Rodriguez played in his first injury rehabilitation game Friday night for Class A Tampa at Dunedin, Fla. A-Rod had 2-for-3 with one run, one home run and two RBI in three plate appearances. The homer came on his first swing. Rodriguez was the DH. He will play third base in a game Saturday and then will go to Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to play early next week before rejoining the Yankees likely in Minneapolis near the end of the week.

The Yankees will hold a special ceremony prior to Saturday’s game to celebrate Derek Jeter reaching the 3,000-hit plateau, which was against Price. Fans are encouraged to arrive early and be in their seats by 3:45 p.m. The first pitch is 4:10 p.m.