CC Sabathia held the Pirates' offense to four hits over seven scoreless innings of work as the Yankees topped the Bucs Friday night in Tampa, 4-0. The lack of velocity that has come to be a cloud of concern surrounding Sabathia was minimized just a bit after the big left-hander was able to consistently get his fastball up to 91 mph. That's not the velocity Yankees fans are used to seeing from their ace, but it is quite a step up over the 86-87 mph showings earlier this spring. Sabathia's seven strikeouts followed up his impressive performance against the Marlins in Panama, hopefully signaling good things to come as the regular season gets underway.
The Yankees' offense jumped out to an early lead in the first inning when Carlos Beltran singled and came around to score on a double by Brian McCann. Mark Teixeira worked a walk just prior to McCann's double and scored on a wild pitch that got past Tony Sanchez. The 2-0 lead was extended to 4-0 in the second inning when Kelly Johnson worked a walk before Brian Roberts and Ichiro Suzuki each singled to load the bases. Brett Gardner drove in Johnson with a fielder's choice and Derek Jeter drove in Roberts with a ground out. No further scoring would happen in the game.
Johnson and Roberts each committed an error in the field by booting routine grounders, but they proved not to be very costly mistakes. McCann flashed some of his defensive prowess by completing to strike 'em out, throw 'em out double plays. Dean Anna and Alfonso Soriano were the only other Yankees to come up with a hit. That could be important for Anna, who is fighting for a spot on the roster made available by the fact that Brendan Ryan is not expected to be ready for Opening Day.
A trio of regular relievers followed Sabathia out of the bullpen with Matt Thornton, Shawn Kelley, and David Robertson rounding out the pitching for the evening. Thornton and Kelley combined to pitch the eighth inning cleanly with the latter of the two picking up a strikeout. Robertson came on to round out the game and did not allow any base runners.
Masahiro Tanaka will start tomorrow's 1:05 pm matchup against the Minnesota Twins in Fort Myers. Francisco Cervelli and Brett Gardner are about the only regulars expected to make the trip after tonight's late game featuring mainly all of the expected starting position players. The game will be televised on MLB Network and on MLB.tv