CC Sabathia won his first game in over a year as the Yankees hit five homers

CC Sabathia

CC Sabathia

The Yankees (21-12) beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 11-5, on Monday night, and they were helped by the offense hitting five homers at Tropicana Field. After not hitting many homers last season, the Yankees are currently in second place in the American League with 43 home runs. Their 152 RBIs are also second most in the American League to Toronto’s 167.

The Yankees have 12 wins in away games this season, which is tied with the Houston Astros for the most in all of baseball. Their improved defense, starting pitching and power on offense has helped the team get off to a better start than anyone expected. This could be sustainable because they have played the toughest schedule in baseball and Nathan Eovaldi and CC Sabathia can get better the rest of the season and Masahiro Tanaka will be returning soon.

Alex Rodriguez, Chase Headley, Carlos Beltran, Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira’s homers helped CC Sabathia record his first win since April 24 of 2014. The Yankees had only scored nine runs for Sabathia during his previous six starts before Monday’s, but in last night’s start the Yankees scored nine runs. Sabathia had a 5.45 ERA coming into the game but deserved to have two or three wins.

“The team wanted to get runs for CC,” Joe Girardi said. He thought it was great that Sabathia got his first win of the season after pitching well enough in two of his previous games.

In the first inning, after Logan Forsythe doubled to deep left center, Didi Gregorius made a perfect relay throw to home to get Steven Souza Jr. out and only allow one run to score on the play. Sabathia had a rocky first inning, but he was able to really rebound after that as he retired the side in order in the second, third and fourth innings.

He was able to get Tim Beckham to ground into an inning ending double play in the fifth that was started by Gregorius. In the sixth inning, Sabathia struck out Evan Longoria, who has hit very well against the Yankees the past few years, on an inside fastball to end the inning.

He allowed three earned runs in the seventh inning, but his stuff was much better than it was in his last start and it is an encouraging sign for him that he pitched well against a team that he has struggled against in the past (5.45 ERA between 2012 and 2014).

“During the middle of (the game) I just let it go,” Sabathia said. “I came in to righties. I felt good tonight. It’s good to get a win in a game that I started.” Sabathia allowed three earned runs, six hits, two walks and a season-high nine strikeouts. Teixeira, who hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning, thought that it was great to see Sabathia go deep into the game and record a lot of strikeouts.

Headley, whose three-run homer in the fourth was his fourth of the season, was also impressed with how Sabathia pitched. “I thought CC did a great job,” Headley said. “I think he was mad at himself for giving up three runs in the seventh.”

The Yankees were able to hit all of their homers with two outs, which proves that they are not getting worse with two outs like some teams do.

Beltran’s solo homer to right center in the fifth was his second homer in as many games and after his 2-5 performance is now hitting .333 in his last 10 games. His average has increased from .181 on May 1 to .219 on May 12.

He is now in sole possession of fourth place on the all-time RBI list among switch hitters. It is key that Beltran has turned around his season offensively because he adds another power hitting switch hitter in the middle of the lineup. He is likely somewhere in between the .333 average that he has in his last 10 games and his .219 season average.

Chris Archer, who is one of the best starters in the American League, will get the start for the Rays on Tuesday. Nathan Eovaldi will look to win his fourth game of the season for the Yankees.

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Below is an interview that Jorge Posada did with Dan Patrick on Monday. Posada is an all-time great Yankee catcher who played on the team for 17 years, was an a All-Star five times, won the World Series four times and won five Silver Slugger Awards. He was promoting his new book and shared stories about Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Joe Torre and life as a Yankee.

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