Wednesday, June 5, 2013

CC'Almost Perfect

Yankees sweep Indians behind Sabathia complete game and the long ball

By Rich Mancuso

BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 5- Wednesday afternoon in the Bronx, CC Sabathia went to the mound in the fifth inning with a perfect game going against the Cleveland Indians. The New York Yankees ace was having that type of day. With the exception of one home run from the Indians, he was almost perfect.

Sabathia (6-4) went the route and threw the 36th complete game of his career, 10th as a Yankee, leading his team to a 6-4 win. The Yankees swept the three-game series from the Indians and embarked on a 10-game, three city trip to Seattle, Oakland and Los Angeles.

It was a vintage Sabathia outing in the first few innings and he had no trouble taming the Indians. The command on his fastball, curve and slider was outstanding. He retired the first fourteen Cleveland hitters that came to the plate before Mike Aviles hit a single to left with two outs in the fifth.

“It was too early to recognize,” said Sabathia about his perfection going into the inning.” He won his second straight start and it was his first complete game against Cleveland, the team that drafted him.

He was throwing strikes and his delivery, according to Sabathia has been much better in the last two starts. It was his second win on the home stand, the other, against Boston last week when he allowed a run on six hits.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he told Sabathia to finish the game before he came out for the ninth inning.

“I told him to finish it and he did,” said Girardi. “I really didn’t want to use “Mo” but I would have with two outs in the ninth. He didn’t give up a hard hit ball until the seventh inning.” The reference was to not using closer and all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera who finished the first two games of the series.

With Sabathia going the distance, Girardi gave his bullpen a well deserved rest before the upcoming road trip. Among his nine- strikeouts, he recorded four straight and struck out the side in the Cleveland third.

He was reached for two runs in the sixth and seventh innings. Yan Gomes got hold of a first pitch slider from Sabathia in the seventh inning, a two –run home run to left and the final runs of the day for the Indians. It was the fourth home run in the last nine games hit by Gomes.

“He was doing what CC does,” commented Gomes about Sabathia’s complete game. On his home run, he said, “Just got a good pitch to it. He was aggressive with all his pitches.”

Corey Kluber (3-4) the Indians’ 27-year- old right hander, in his eighth start of the season gave up two home runs in the first two innings. Travis Hafner hit a two-run blast to right in the first inning, his 10th of the season and second of the series that gave New York a 2-0 lead.

The runs were not earned as Robinson Cano reached second base on an error that Michael Bourn mishandled in center.

And in the Yankees’ four –run second inning, Bret Gardner hit a three-run homer to deep right. It was the sixth of the year for Gardner and opened up a 6-0 lead for New York. Kluber went six innings, was charged with six-runs on seven hits. But he was able to settle down and recorded eight strikeouts.

Said Gardner about Sabathia, “It’s just the way we would draw it up. He looked real good. He had no-hit stuff.”

Kluber is winless in his last four starts.

“His stuff was tremendous the whole game,” commented Indians manager Terry Francona who saw his team end a string of 20- consecutive games. “He had a couple of misfires. The fastball to Hafner that ran back over the middle. He completed and never lost his poise.”

Francona added, “That’s a pretty big hole to dig out of when CC is pitching.”

The Indians were not able to do much, but the Yankees did what they had to do again. As they often say, their goal is to win games, more so to win series, this their fifth sweep of the season. They will take a sweep coming off losing two of three to first place Boston earlier this week.

With Sabathia, the Yankees are that much better and feeling good each time their ace takes the mound.

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