CC Sabathia looked like his old self on Saturday evening, hitting his spots and avoiding That One InningTM that has plagued him since his velocity began to drop. The Yankees also got some situational hitting for the first time in a few games, ultimately snapping their losing streak at four.
At first, it looked like the same old story when Carlos Beltran stranded two runners in the first inning against Royals starter Danny Duffy. Things were quiet for the first two innings, before three walks led to Beltran scoring Jacoby Ellsbury on a sacrifice fly in the third. Sabathia then gave up three consecutive singles to start the bottom half of the frame, but managed to hold the Royals to a sac fly from the recently reinvented Mike Moustakas.
Danny Duffy struggled with his command all day, showing clear signs of frustration. He constantly pounded his glove and paced around the mound, trying to clear his mind. Nothing seemed to work, however, and he ended up walking four batters in just five innings. In the fifth, he retired the first two hitters before surrendering two straight singles. Already past 100 pitches, he hung a changeup to Chase Headley, who hit a 103 mph line drive into the Royals bullpen for a three-run homer.
This time around, Sabathia was able to convert the shutdown inning. Rightfielder Paulo Orlando hit a single, which was followed by a fielder's choice from the speedy Alcides Escobar. Jose Pirela let Mike Moustakas reach on a fielding error, but Sabathia was able to retire Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer.
The Royals lifted Duffy for the sixth, in favor of the veteran Joe Blanton. Blanton kept the Yankees quiet for three innings, before surrendering an opposite field home run to Alex Rodriguez, number 663 on his career. The 419-foot blast gave him 1,991 RBI for his career, just one shy of some guy named Babe Ruth.
After seven great innings from CC Sabathia, Dellin Betances retired the side in the eighth. Andrew Miller closed the game out in the bottom of the ninth, formally putting a cap on the losing streak. Tomorrow, Chris Capuano returns to face Edinson Volquez at 2:10 EST for the rubber match of this three-game series.
Here's the box score for tonight's win.