The Yankees started this homestand by sweeping the Angels and have now extended the winning streak to five games after a great start by CC Sabathia. The offense provided Sabathia with early run support, and even though the bats fell asleep after the third inning, those four runs ended up being more than enough to clinch the victory.
Sabathia really deserves a lot of credit for the way that he has pitched so far this season. Praise be to the knee brace, indeed. Similarly to his last outing against the Orioles, Sabathia did have to labor a bit tonight, particularly when it came to putting batters away. He had to throw 12 pitches against Ian Kinsler in the first bat of the game before he finally struck him out.
Unlike his last outing, Sabathia didn't work his way into any bases loaded jams. The Tigers had two runners on during a couple of innings, but nothing came of that. In the fifth inning, Sabathia was charged with a throwing error after Cameron Maybin pushed a bunt down the first base line, but Maybin appeared to be in the way of Rob Refsnyder catching the ball. Somewhat surprisingly, Joe Girardi let Sabathia come back out for the seventh inning despite the fact that his pitch count was getting up there. He ended the night with four strikeouts, and surrendered just five hits. Sabathia's 2.28 ERA is now the lowest in the rotation. Almost unbelievable.
Dellin Betances came out for the eighth inning and struck out two batters. With a four run lead, Girardi decided to save Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman for another night, instead opting to send Anthony Swarzak out. Swarzak struck out Victor Martinez, gave up a single to J.D Martinez, and induced two fly outs to end the game.
The Yankees' offense jumped all over a struggling Mike Pelfrey early in the game. With one out, Brett Gardner and Carlos Beltran hit back-to-back singles then Alex Rodriguez drew a walk to load the bases. Pelfrey then walked Brian McCann on four pitches to give the Yankees their first run of the game. Starlin Castro struck out, but Didi Gregorius hit an RBI double that brought home Beltran and A-Rod. McCann was thrown out at the plate to end the inning. In the fourth, Gardner worked a lead-off walk then ended up advancing all the way to third base when catcher James McCann threw the ball to right field on the pickoff attempt. Beltran hit an RBI single to give the Yankees a four-run lead that held up for the rest of the game.
Masahiro Tanaka will take the mound tomorrow during a rare Saturday night game to try and keep the winning streak alive. He'll face off against Justin Verlander at 7:15 EST.