(Fastball command is funny. Courtesy of The AP)
After a long day at the office, I just didn't have another live blog in me for last night's game. And with CC Sabathia back on the mound, I wanted to spend more time watching the game and really pay attention to his fastball to see if he had made any improvements with it. Swish was still out of commish, and Raul got the night off with the lefty Mike Minor on the mound for Atlanta, so the lineup was a little short. But Carsten was on his game, and Minor couldn't repeat the success that he had the last time out.
- The Braves came into the game scoreless in their last 20 innings, and it took all of 4 pitches from CC to end that streak. A leadoff triple to left-center for Michael Bourn and a groundout by Martin Prado and Atlanta led 1-0.
- That was all Atlanta would get, though, as CC worked out of the inning without further issue and needed just 26 more pitches to get through the first 3 frames. The Braves helped by swinging early (4 1-pitch outs), but give CC credit for that too by being around the plate.
- Minor brought his pitching shoes to The Stadium last night, and matched CC out for out early. He no-hit the Yanks the first time through the lineup, and through 4 innings had only allowed 1 baserunner.
- CC put the first 2 runners on in the 4th and got out of it, but he wasn't so lucky in the 5th. Leadoff single by Jason Heyward, infield single off a deflection by Andrelton Simmons, and a 1-out RBI single from Bourn on a pretty good pitch and it was 2-0 Atlanta.
- Minor lost the no-hit bid in the 5th after giving up a leadoff single to A-Rod, and lost the shutout soon after. Robinson Cano walked, and on a 3-0 pitch Russell Martin got the green light and lined a 1-out ground-rule double to left to score A-Rod and cut the lead in half. Derek Jeter followed with a 2-out 2-run single to center after a great at-bat and the Yankees took a 3-2 lead.
- If Fredi Gonzalez wasn't regretting sending Minor out to start the bottom of the 6th when the inning started, he definitely was after Mark Teixeira took a hanging change from Minor and parked it in the left field bleachers to lead off the inning.
- You expect your ace to give you shutdown innings after you take a lead, and CC gave the Yankees 3 after they put runs on the board in the 5th, 6th, and 7th. The 6th-8th innings were easily CC's best of the night; he threw a lot of strikes and got 4 Ks, plus 2 slick plays by Jeter and Cano to end the 7th and 8th innings and preserve a 5-2 Yankee lead.
- Another Robbie Cano HR for more insurance? Why the hell not?
- CC: 9 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 K, W. It looked a little sloppy early, but CC was brilliant from the 5th inning on. His slider was really working last night, to both righties and lefties, and his fastball command was more consistent down in the zone. The hardest ball hit off him all night was Bourn's leadoff triple, and both the runs he allowed were cheap (1 on a groundout, the other after what would have been a double-play ball had he not deflected it). This was the most CC-like that the big fella has looked in nearly a month.
- Jeter: 2-4, 3 RBI. 2-out RBIs get you into Heaven, and Jeter should be skipping a few spots in line at the Pearly Gates after his 3 last night. The first 2 gave the Yankees the lead and the last was an all-important insurance run.
- Martin: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 K. Martin's double not only plated the first Yankee run but also put the go-ahead runs in scoring position for Jeter's hit. He also called a great game behind the plate for CC's best outing in almost a month.
** UPDATE- 11:50AM- As a reader was kind enough to point out in the comments section, it was Chris Stewart who was behind the plate last night, not Russell Martin. I should have known that, since I posted the lineup before the game and watched the whole game from start to finish on TV, and still managed to screw it up in the recap. Clearly I was right in my choice to not live blog the game last night. Who knows what else I would have missed. **
- Andruw Jones: 0-4, 3 K, 2 LOB. His first 2 strikeouts were really ugly, and one came with RISP.
Well the winning streak has reached double digits. And thanks to R.A. Dickey, the Yankees created a little more breathing room between themselves and the second place Orioles. Game 2 of this series is tonight and it's a repeat of the matchup from the last live blog as Kuroda goes up against Hudson. Let's just keep things rolling, huh?