- Last Updated: 9:09 AM, May 5, 2012
- Posted: 2:31 AM, May 5, 2012
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Yankees had lost three straight for the second time this season and watched Mariano Rivera exit for the season due to a serious knee injury on Thursday.
So, last night’s game against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium provided the Yankees with something more than a routine early May game.
“It always feel good to win a game,’’ CC Sabathia said after hurling the Yankees to a 6-2 victory in front of 24,153 fans. “Especially [with] what we have been through the past day.’’
Before the victory, Rivera, who will need surgery to repair tears to his ACL and meniscus, announced he was going to attempt a comeback next year and he didn’t want to end his career with an injury.
After giving back a 2-0 lead Mark Teixeira gave him with a first-inning homer off Bruce Chen in the Royals’ half of the frame, Sabathia (4-0) cruised across the next seven innings. In eight frames, he allowed two runs, seven hits, didn’t issue a walk and struck out five.
“It was very important,’’ said Teixeira, who has been battling bronchitis since the second week in April and has been unable to completely shake it. “I was glad CC pitched tonight. It’s always good to have that ace.’’
Despite having a four-run lead in the ninth and not being in a save situation, manager Joe Girardi brought in David Robertson after getting Rafael Soriano up in the eighth when the Royals threatened.
“I wanted to get him experience in a sense and he hadn’t thrown in three or four days,’’ Girardi said of Robertson, who fanned the side in the ninth and has struck out the last eight batters he has faced.
The bottom of Girardi’s order contributed to the win. Eduardo Nunez, the eighth hitter, had an RBI triple. Catcher Chris Stewart, who has caught all four of Sabathia’s wins, added an RBI single from the ninth slot.
Derek Jeter went 2-for-5 with a two-run homer in the seventh and is batting .404 (46-for-114).
“CC steps up when we need him the most,’’ said Jeter, who singled in the first and scored on Teixeira’s homer off Chen (0-4). “We played well and CC deserves a lot of the credit.’’
Robertson didn’t focus on not having Rivera as the safety net. Instead, he praised Sabathia.
“It’s a really good win. CC did what we expect him to do,’’ Robertson said. “He gave us eight innings and was amazing.’’
As for working the ninth with a four-run lead, Robertson said the only thing different was not having Rivera waiting.
“I have been in that situation before, 6-2, and come in and walk a guy and Mo comes in,’’ Robertson said.
Now there is no Mo. But last night there was enough of Sabathia that it didn’t make a difference.Follow @NYPostsports