In the Yankees 2-1 win over the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night CC Sabathia allowed his fewest hits of the season as he pitched six innings, allowed only one run, had eight strikeouts and the Red Sox only had three hits off of him. The win allowed the Yankees to win the series against the last place Red Sox and maintain their lead in the division.
It was a great start for Sabathia (4-8, 5.34 ERA) and a big win for the Yankees because they will be playing the second place Toronto Blue Jays on Friday through Sunday. Toronto has won eight of their last 10 games and after their trade deadline acquisitions is now only 4.5 games behind the Yankees. There could be a lot of runs in this weekend series at Yankee Stadium since the Blue Jays are first and the Yankees are second in runs scored in the American League, the Blue Jays are second and the Yankees are third in homers and the Blue Jays are first and the Yankees are second in RBIs.
This was the first time that Sabathia had pitched six or more innings while allowing one run and striking out eight all season. He had not had eight or more strikeouts in a game since May 11 when he had nine against the Rays. He really bounced back from his previous two starts because he had allowed a combined 10 runs (five in each game) and five homers combined against the Texas Rangers and Minnesota Twins.
“He had more velocity tonight,” Joe Girardi said. “I thought his location was better and his breaking ball was better. He pitched a really good game. He gave us six innings, an outstanding game and then out bullpen took over. Whenever you have more arm speed I think it helps the rest of your stuff as well.”
The only run that Sabathia allowed was an RBI single to Rusney Castillo to score Ryan Hanigan in the fifth. He was able to impressively pitch out of trouble in that inning since he walked the next batter but struck out David Ortiz swinging with the bases loaded in end the inning.
Sabathia has had one inning really hurt him in many of his starts this season but was able to avoid that on Thursday. He was able to strike out Josh Rutledge with runners on first and second to end the second inning but used his improved location to retire the side in order in the first, third, fourth and sixth innings. He was able to really keep the Red Sox off balance.
“I think just working both sides of the plate,” Sabathia said. “You have to give Murphy a lot of credit, he called a good game. I just tried to go out and establish both sides of the plate and we did that pretty good I think. I like pitching at the end of the year when the games mean a lot. It was a good series win.
The Yankees were 0-4 with runners in scoring position against Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez, but they were able to get two key hits against him. In the third inning, Alex Rodriguez hit a double to left to score Brett Gardner for the first run of the game. That was Gardner’s 73rd run scored of the season, which is fourth most in the AL.
In the seventh inning, with the score still tied at one, Jacoby Ellsbury hit a homer to right field that ended up being the game-winner. He was 2-4 and now has two homers in his last four games.
Dellin Betances (1.29 ERA and 89 strikeouts) pitched the eighth inning while allowing one hit and striking out one and Andrew Miller (1.70 ERA and 0.76 WHIP) pitched a scoreless ninth for his 24th save, which means he now has not blown a save this season in 24 chances. This was the 12th consecutive game that Betances has not allowed a run.
The Yankees are now 8-0-1 in their last nine series going back to the series in Anaheim at the end of June. They have momentum going into their big series against the surging Blue Jays. The Yankees will be facing their second knuckleball pitcher in three games as the veteran knuckleballer RA Dickey will get the start on Friday.