It wasn't always pretty, but CC Sabathia got the job done against the Tigers on Sunday, throwing seven shutout innings. The Big Man went seven and gave up four hits while walking three, but allowed no runs and held the lead that the Yankee offense picked up early against Justin Verlander.
CC looked as if he might have trouble again, as he allowed a Torii Hunter single and a couple of hard-hit outs in the first inning, but he escaped without damage, which would be a trend he would repeat the rest of the day.
The Yankee offense struck early against Verlander and, despite adding more later against the Tiger bullpen, it would be all they needed. Vernon Wells led off the top of second inning with a walk. Ichiro Suzuki grounded into a force out, which got Wells at second. Despite losing the lead runner, the Ichiro's speed allowed him to score from first when next batter Francisco Cervelli doubled into the gap, giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead. After Lyle Overbay flied out, Jayson Nix came to the plate to face Verlander. (And yes, you are reading the next sentence correctly. Reread it if you must, but it is correct.) Nix took Verlander over the left field wall for a two-run home run, making it 3-0 Yankees.
From there, CC went to work. He allowed at least one baserunner in six of his seven innings, with the exception coming in the seventh. The closest the Tigers came to scoring off Sabathia came in the fourth inning. After retiring Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez for the first two outs, CC walked Matt "Yes it's the same last name...no, I'm not that guy" Tuiasosopo and Brayan Pena reached on a infield single. But Sabathia got Omar Infante to fly out for the third out, and no runner would get to scoring position again against CC.
The Yankees' offense added to their lead in the eighth inning. With one out in the top half of the eighth, our old friend Phil Coke was brought in. Travis Hafner welcomed him to the game with a single off the first pitch Coke threw. Next batter Vernon Wells grounded one into the corner which a fan touched, meaning it was called a ground-rule double. Ichiro Suzuki was next up and he hit a sac fly to score Eduardo Nunez, who was pinch running for Hafner. Francisco Cervelli added another hit, singling to score Wells to make it 5-0.
The Yankees brought in David Robertson to pitch the bottom of the eighth inning, and he got himself into a bit of trouble. Torii Hunter led off the inning for the Tigers with a single, and after Robertson struck out Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder singled to center. Brett Gardner misplayed the ball a bit, which may have allowed Hunter to go to third. (Hunter read the ball well off the bat and was running hard the whole way and may have made it to third, even if Gardner didn't misplay it.) Robertson found himself with runners on the corners with just one out. But Houdini did his Houdini thing and got out of the inning without allowing a run. He got Martinez to fly out and struck out Tuiasosopo.
The Yankees added another two insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning. Jayson Nix led off the inning, and continued his impressive day with a single. Gardner singled, which moved Nix to third. Robinson Cano grounded out, but advanced Gardner to second. Next up was Kevin Youkilis who added to his impressive start to the season by singling to left, scoring both runners for a 7-0 lead.
Then in the ninth inning, it was Mo time. Brayan Pena lead off against Mariano Rivera with a ground out, shattering his bat. After that Mo got himself into some trouble as well. He allowed singles to Omar Infante and Ramon Santiago. It could have been worse when Austin Jackson lined one towards the gap, but Brett Gardner made up for his mistake from the previous inning and made a nice running catch to get the second out. Rivera struck out Torii Hunter for the final out and the Yankees won 7-0.
The main positives to take from this game were CC and the offense. CC didn't quite have his best stuff, but he more than did his job today. The offense also did its job. Eight of the nine hitters who got an at bat recorded a hit, the exception being Lyle Overbay. While Ichiro, Cano and Gardner continued their slumps for the most part, hopefully the hits they recorded today can get them going. Kevin Youkilis continues raking here early in the season, as does Francisco Cervelli. And JAYSON NIX WHAT.