Sunday, September 27, 2009

CC Dominates Sox at Clincher Inches Closer

The Yankees got the big man for one reason and one reason only- to win games. Big games. While yesterday's regular season contest between the Yankees and Boston Red Sox wasn't exactly a huge game, the fact that CC Sabathia pitched seven innings of 1-hit ball was huge. The Yankees won 3-0 after Mariano Rivera made things interesting in the 9th before picking up his 43rd save. The victory moved the Yankees magic number to clinch their first AL East title in three years to just one.

Since August 1, Sabathia is 8-0, 2.24 in his 10 starts. His 19th win yesterday matched his 2007 total when he won the AL Cy Young while a member of the Cleveland Indians. Yesterday he was about as good as it gets. He struck out four of the first six batters he faced and didn't give up a hit until Mike Lowell led off the 5th with a single.

He left after 96 pitches, but the Red Sox lineup got no breaks. Phil Hughes pitched the 8th, retiring the side in order before The Sandman entered in the 9th. Rivera retired Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia to start the inning, but gave up a single to Victor Martinez and hit Kevin Youkilis. Martinez' hit extended his hitting streak to 25 games. A wild pitch and a couple of defense indifferences put the runners in scoring position, but Rivera struck out Lowell with a nasty cutter that dipped towards the opposite batters' box.

Daisuke Matsuzaka held the Yankees scoreless through 5 innings and escaped a bases loaded, no-out jam in the 5th. Robinson Cano finally broke through with an opposite field home run for a 1-0 lead in the 6th inning.

Speed and Billy Wagner's wildness led to a pair of insurance runs in the Yankees' 8th. Nick Swisher drew a lead off walk and was replaced by pinch-runner Brett Gardner. The Yankees biggest speed threat moved to 2nd base on a wild pitch and then stole 3rd. It was the Yankees 9th stolen base in two games.

Melky Cabrera reached when Wagner drilled him in the left hip with a 95-mph fastball. After Jose Molina failed to get down a safety squeeze, Gardner broke for home when Wagner's pitch skipped away from Martinez. The subsequent run-down resulted in Gardner's safe return to 3rd, when Chris Woodward dropped the ball for error, and Cabrera's advanced to 2nd. After Molina walked to the load bases, Wagner bounced back with a strike out of Derek Jeter for the 2nd out, but Johnny Damon dunked a blopper into right field to score two and extend the Yankees lead to 3-0.

Game Notes

The Yankees have won 8 of 9 from the Red Sox after losing the first 8 contests. A win today would split the 18-game season series. Andy Pettitte goes against Paul Byrd.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor threw out the first pitch.

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