CC Sabathia turned in his best start of the year tonight, striking out 10 Tampa Bay Rays (including striking out the side in the 6th), walking just one, and allowing 7 hits and 2 runs, though neither run was earned.
The first inning was definitely eventful. After Ben Zobrist grounded out to short, Sabathia hit the ever feared Sean Rodriguez. He followed it up by striking out B.J. Upton and surrendering an infield single to Jeff Keppinger. Then, Eduardo Nunez happened. Brandon Guyer hit the ball to Nunez, who booted it and kept the inning going. Carlos Pena dropped a bloop single into first and a run scored. A quick throw from Nick Swisher and a good tag by Chris Stewart prevented a second run from scoring. The Yankees then put two runners on base in the bottom of the inning–singles by Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez–but were unable to get a run home.
In the second, Nunez committed a second error of the game. After an Elliot Johnson single, catcher Chris Gimenez hit a grounder to third. Nunez backed up a step from the grass, fielded the ball nicely, then threw it into right field. Will Rhymes followed with a failed bunt attempt (pop up in foul ground that Nunez snared). A strikeout by Ben Zobrist made it look like CC would get out of the inning without any damage, but Sean Rodriguez put together a good at bat and punched a single the other way to right field and scored Johnson, putting the Rays up 2-0. The Yankees struck back in the bottom of the inning. Curtis Granderson took a David Price pith into the second deck in right. After an Andruw Jones grounder, Nunez began to atone for his errors by drawing a tough walk against Price before stealing second and being sent home on a bloop double by not-CC’s personal catcher Chris Stewart to tie the game at 2. From then on, CC took over. Between innings 3-8, Sabathia allowed just four base runners and struck out seven batters. The Rays wouldn’t score again until garbage time in the 9th.
In the fifth, the Yankees took the lead thanks to a Nick Swisher single and a deep homer to the right field bleachers by Robinson Cano and an RBI double to left that one-hopped the wall off the bat of Andruw Jones. With the victory, the Yankees took the series from the Rays, and enter the series with Seattle with a bit of momentum (which may not mean much considering Felix Hernandez goes for the M’s tomorrow).
–Jayson Nix entered the game in the 6th for Nunez. He hit in the 8th and recorded an out; he remains hitless in his brief Yankee career.
–B.J. Upton (3) and Carlos Pena (2) were the only Rays to strike out multiple times.
–Mark Teixeira, again, didn’t get a hit, but he did get a walk!
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TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees