Yankees 6 Blue Jays 1
- Last Updated: 8:26 AM, July 18, 2012
- Posted: 1:01 AM, July 18, 2012
CC Sabathia against the Blue Jays isn’t much of a fight. When he has three weeks of rest and they are missing Jose Bautista, it’s not fair.
Sabathia made his initial start off the disabled list last night at Yankee Stadium versus the Blue Jays and toyed with them across six-plus innings, hurling the Yankees to a 6-1 victory that was witnessed by 44,975 sweaty customers at Yankee Stadium, where the first-pitch temperature was 95 degrees.
Because of the All-Star break, Sabathia missed two starts while allowing a groin injury to heal. According to Mark Teixeira, it might have been the best thing to happen to the Yankees’ ace, who has posted well over 200 innings in each of the past five seasons.
“I have always thought for a horse like CC to take [time off] in the middle of the season isn’t a bad thing,’’ Teixeira said. “Take the foot off the gas and it could pay dividends in the long run.’’
Sabathia said he isn’t sure what the rest will do for him across the final 10 weeks of the regular season, but he admitted that the change-up he featured last night was outstanding.
“My change-up was better than it has been all year,’’ said Sabathia, whose third straight victory improved his record to 10-3. He is 13-3 in 17 career games against the Blue Jays. “When I can throw that it really sets up my fastball.’’
Because Sabathia hadn’t worked since June 24, pitching coach Larry Rothschild and Girardi wanted to limit him to 85 pitches. So, when Adam Lind opened the seventh with a single, Girardi pulled Sabathia.
“I expect to pitch well, that’s me,’’ said Sabathia, who didn’t allow a run for the first time this season (16 starts), gave up four hits, walked one and fanned six. “Coming off the DL and not throwing for three weeks, it feels good to contribute to a win.’’
The Yankees, who are in position to sweep the Blue Jays today, have won eight of 10 and are a MLB-best 56-34.
Andruw Jones provided Sabathia with a 3-0 lead in the second inning via a three-run homer off Brett Cecil. It was Jones’ 12th homer in 132 at-bats this season.
Jayson Nix also went 3-for-4.
Bautista was placed on the disabled list before the game with a sprained left wrist. But considering he was 1-for-19 (.053) against Sabathia, he might not have been much help.
Three more runs in the seventh after Sabathia left hiked the advantage to 6-0 and looked like it was enough to keep Rafael Soriano from appearing in his fourth game in five days.
Nevertheless, Chad Qualls and Clay Rapada teamed to load the bases and Girardi summoned Soriano.
Five pitches later the game was over when J.P. Arencibia’s liner to Teixeira started a game-ending double play. Soriano posted his 24th save.
“He did everything that we have come to expect,’’ Derek Jeter said of Sabathia.
When Sabathia went down the Yankees had a 2 1⁄2-game lead in the AL East. When he took the mound last night, the bulge was nine.
“I was really impressed, there was life to his fastball,’’ Girardi said. “When there is a layoff you are concerned, but I was really impressed.’’
Now, their ace is back and there won’t be restrictions the next time he pitches Sunday in Oakland.
The Yankees thrived with Sabathia out, but come October the Yankees will go as far as their ace leads them. And by then maybe Teixeira will be proven right about taking some miles off Sabathia in July will be a blessing.