NEW YORK — Velocity readings on the scoreboard were not the number that CC Sabathia focused on Friday night. The number that concerned Sabathia was five, the number of consecutive losses in the New York Yankees’ worst losing streak of the season.
Not only did Sabathia help end the losing streak, but he also dominated along the way.
Sabathia allowed one run and six hits while striking out 10 over 7 1/3 sharp innings for his first win in over a month as the Yankees welcomed Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis back to the lineup in a 4-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
“I always feel like it’s my responsibility when I’m out there to pitch well enough to try to win,” Sabathia said. “We’re having a tough week and getting swept by the Mets you want to go out and have a good game, and I was able to do that tonight.”
The Yankees won after struggling to score in a four-game sweep against the New York Mets.
One day after stealing five bases, Boston outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury was removed from the starting lineup for Friday’s game because of groin tightness. According to the Providence Journal, Ellsbury first noticed the problem on his fifth stolen base Thursday. He is listed as day to day. Ellsbury is hitting .268 with one homer and 21 steals.
New York’s losing streak started when Sabathia (5-4) was rocked for a season-high seven runs and eight hits in seven innings Sunday at Tampa Bay, but Friday there was little indication of another poor showing.
“He expects so much out of himself,” New York left fielder Vernon Wells said. “He’s our ace and he’s our workhorse and anytime he’s on the mound, he wants to give us a chance to win. He was hard on himself after the last one but that’s what the good ones do, they bounce back and get better.
“CC was really good,” Teixeira added. “Once we got that lead, you could tell that he wasn’t going to give it up.”
For most of the season Sabathia’s fastball was in the 89 to 91 mph range, but as the night wore on, several were thrown at 92 mph and a few hit 94.
“He was throwing it harder,” manager Joe Girardi joked when asked if Sabathia was doing anything differently. “I don’t think so. He was the same guy. He’s been throwing that pitch for a long time, it seems like when it gets hot he gets better.”
“When I was younger I did (think about velocity),” Sabathia said. “I felt that’s how I was getting guys out, but as I got older, I know it’s more about location than velocity.”
The best indication of location dominating the night came when he navigated his way through the middle of Boston’s order in the seventh mostly with his slider.
After Dustin Pedroia led off with a double to right, David Ortiz got ahead 2-0, but Sabathia got consecutive swings and misses before the Boston designated hitter lightly tapped a slider for a groundout to first base. Sabathia lost his shutout bid when Mike Napoli doubled to deep right field, but recovered to strike out Stephen Drew on a slider and retire David Ross on a groundout to second.
Sabathia won for the first time since beating Toronto on April 27. In between victories he had been 0-2 with a 4.85 ERA in five starts, a stretch that equaled the second longest period of his career without a win.
“He was outstanding,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “He threw pitches for strikes and stayed out of the middle of the plate. Anytime he was in a fastball count, he’d go to his breaking ball or his change-up to keep us off stride.”
After Sabathia retired Jackie Bradley Jr, he walked off to a standing ovation and was replaced by David Robertson. Robertson recorded the final two outs of the eighth, and Mariano Rivera allowed two hits in the ninth but retired Napoli and Drew for his 19th save in 20 opportunities.
After missing New York’s first 53 games recovering from a right wrist injury, Teixeira drew a walk, scored New York’s first run and made eight putouts at first base. Youkilis returned following a 30-game absence with a back injury and had an RBI single in the fifth.
Jon Lester (6-2) allowed four runs and six hits over 6 1/3 innings and dropped his second straight decision as the Red Sox lost for the sixth time in their last 17 games.
“The biggest thing is getting the ball down in the zone consistently,” Lester said. “That’s been kind of the focal point for me the past couple of starts.
Teixeira led off the second with a walk in his first plate appearance and scored on Jayson Nix’s RBI single to left field. The Yankees made it 2-0 on Ichiro Suzuki’s line drive base hit to left that scored Wells.
Lester retired the side in the third and fourth before hitting David Adams with a pitch to start the fifth. He retired Ichiro on a ground out that resulted in Yankee manager Joe Girardi getting ejected by second base umpire Vic Carapazza because he seemed to believe that Drew’s foot came off the bag on a force play. But three batters later Youkilis made it 3-0 with a base hit.
Orioles 7, Tigers 5: Chris Dickerson hit a three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Baltimore Orioles a wild 7-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Friday night before a sellout crowd of 46,249 at Camden Yards.
Detroit took a 5-3 lead into ninth thanks to homers from Miguel Cabrera and Avisail Garcia plus a solid eight-inning effort from starter Max Scherzer, who retired the final 16 Orioles batters he faced.
But the Orioles rallied when closer Jose Valverde came on in the ninth.
Nick Markakis led off with a homer to make it 5-4. Adam Jones reached on an infield single to deep short. Chris Davis then worked the count full before lining a single to right-center field. Garcia raced over from right to cut it off and force Jones to stop at third — or he would have easily scored.
Valverde got Wieters and J.J. Hardy on popups before Dickerson blasted a 2-1 fastball from Valverde (0-1) into the right-center field seats. That capped a four-run bottom of the ninth and gave the Orioles (31-24) their third straight win.
Darren O’Day (3-0) picked up the win for the Orioles.
Detroit (29-24) now has dropped four in a row.
The Tigers started quickly against Miguel Gonzalez. Andy Dirks singled with one out in the top of the first and scored when Cabrera belted a two-run homer to deep left for a 2-0 lead.
Baltimore cut the lead in half in the second. Jones led off with a single and went to third when Davis singled. Wieters followed with a sacrifice fly to drive in Jones.
The Orioles took the lead in the third when Jones hit a two-run homer to deep center. Markakis had just drawn a two-out walk before Jones’ blast, which put Baltimore up 3-2.
The Tigers tied it in the fourth on a Garcial RBI single. His two-out grounder up the middle scored Jhonny Peralta, who had reached on a forceout.
Detroit opened a 4-3 lead in the fifth when Dirks scored on a Victor Martinez forceout. The Tigers loaded the bases with one out and the Orioles tried to turn a double play when Martinez bounced to second, but he just beat shortstop J.J. Hardy’s throw to first.
NOTES: Davis entered the game with 19 homers through May 30, the second-highest total by an Orioles player in history at this point in the season. According to STATS, Brady Anderson holds the record with 20 in 1996, the year he hit 50 overall. …Jones’ home run was his 11th this season. The Orioles now have three players — Davis and Hardy are the others — who have at least 10 homers, one of just four teams in the majors so far. … Scherzer dodged a bullet in the second inning when a Jones line drive hit him in the lower back before deflecting into center field for a single. The right-hander seemed fine afterward. … Cabrera’s first-inning homer was his 12th of the month, the most for a Tiger since Willie Horton in 1968.