C.C. Sabathia notched his 20th victory of the season, a milestone reached for the first time in his career, by limiting the Orioles to three runs over seven innings.
After some early inning struggles, Sabathia settled into the game, but never really regained full command of his pitches, particularly the breaking ball. The Yankees ace lefty has made a habit of grinding through games in which he isn’t in top form, however, so having his milestone achievement come on such a night seemed rather appropriate.
In support of Sabathia, the Yankees jumped out ahead in the first inning when Jorge Posada singled in to two runs with two outs and the bases loaded. More than stake the Yankees to a 2-0 lead, the two out hit seemed to make the final cut in the clean break from the team’s recent struggles with men in scoring position, a process that started with Arod’s dramatic ninth inning homerun on Friday. And, sure enough, later in the game, the Yankees converted two situations with a man on third and less than two outs (a sacrifice fly and ground ball, both by Derek Jeter). John Sterling must have been very happy.
Robinson Cano’s continued resurgence, including a two run homerun in the fifth that gave him a career high 101 RBIs, as well as Nick Swisher’s return to the lineup with two hits were further positives from the game. There was, however, a significant negative, and that was the absence of Mark Teixeira, who has been playing with a broken toe since August 30. According to Teixeira, the tow has been causing him significant discomfort in both the field and at the plate, where he has gone .211/.343./.246 in 70 plate appearances since the injury.
So, the Yankees continue their challenge of trying to win the division while also getting everyone healthy for the post season. It has been a tough line to walk, but with the impending return of Andy Pettitte and signs of gradual awakening among the offense, the team may soon be on the straight and narrow, which the Yankees hope will be a path that leads deep into October.
Yankees’ 2B* with 100 RBIs in a Season
*At least 75% of games played at 2B.