NEW YORK (AP) -The intermittent drizzle turned into a steady rain before finally becoming heavy showers, and CC Sabathia just kept throwing strikes.
It was exactly what the Yankees needed to sneak in a victory on a dreary Friday night.
Sabathia struck out nine in another dominant performance and New York beat the sloppy Texas Rangers 5-1 in a game that was called after six innings due to the wet weather.
``I mean that's about as good as we've seen him,' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. ``He was outstanding tonight.'
Sabathia (2-0) allowed three hits and walked none in his first complete game of the season. He retired 17 of the last 19 batters he faced after Josh Hamilton's one-out double in the first, including six consecutive strikeouts.
The big left-hander carried a no-hitter into the eighth in his previous start at Tampa Bay before settling for 7 2-3 shutout innings.
``Usually I get off to a pretty slow start but my stuff is right where I want it to be right now,' Sabathia said. ``Just need to keep it going, keep working hard and just try to keep it going the rest of the year.'
C.J. Wilson, working on seven days' rest, also pitched six innings for Texas but was hurt by control problems and first baseman Chris Davis' throwing error during New York's three-run fourth.
``The balls I needed to bounce my way bounced the other way, and it wasn't just one - it was three or four,' Wilson said.
The rain picked up after New York's Nick Johnson flied out to end the fourth. It turned into a downpour in the sixth and the grounds crew pulled the tarp on the field after the inning was completed.
With more rain in the forecast, the game was called after a 65-minute delay.
Wilson (0-1) was scratched from his scheduled start on Wednesday when a couple of the Rangers were stricken with food poisoning. Catcher Taylor Teagarden, who had been out since Monday, also returned to the lineup and gave the Yankees an unearned run in the first when Derek Jeter scored on his passed ball.
``We've just gotta tighten up our defense,' Texas manager Ron Washington said. ``We're just not making the plays.'
New York (7-3) has won five of six for its best 10-game start since a 9-1 beginning in 2003. The defending World Series champions also denied the Rangers (5-5) their best 10-game record since they opened 6-4 in 1999.
Jeter had two hits, including a run-scoring infield single in the sixth, and Robinson Cano went 1 for 3, making them the first pair of Yankees to begin the same season with 10-game hitting streaks in franchise history, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau.
``At this point we're just trying to win games,' Jeter said.
New York grabbed control in the fourth, putting the first three batters on without hitting the ball out of the infield. Wilson hit Alex Rodriguez with a pitch and Cano reached on an infield single before Nick Swisher walked to load the bases.
Davis made a nice diving stop on Curtis Granderson's one-out grounder but his throw to second glanced off Swisher's right arm and went into left field. Rodriguez and Cano scored to give New York a 3-1 lead, and Francisco Cervelli added an RBI single to left.
That was more than enough for Sabathia, who improved to 8-3 with a 4.29 ERA in 14 career starts against the Rangers. It was his first start against Texas since June 2008 and his first victory against the AL West club since July 2007.
Sabathia began the game with 12 consecutive strikes and had only 15 balls among his 73 pitches.
``When he's on, he's a strike machine,' Girardi said. ``That's exactly what he did tonight.'
Vladimir Guerrero hit a sacrifice fly in the first for Texas. Wilson allowed three earned runs and seven hits, walked three and hit two batters.
``Funny bounces, weird spins, slick baseballs, cracked bats,' Wilson said, ``the only thing that didn't happen was no one got hit by a bird fielding a ball or something.'
NOTES: The Yankees placed RHP Chan Ho Park (right hamstring strain) on the 15-day disabled list before the game and recalled LHP Boone Logan from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Park was confident he would be OK in a couple days. ... Texas 3B Michael Young went 1 for 3 and remains tied with Ivan Rodriguez for most multihit games in Rangers history at 490. ... Yankees C Jorge Posada rested and is expected to start the last two games of the series, both afternoon contests. ... Game 2 of the New Jersey Devils-Philadelphia Flyers NHL playoff series was shown on the center-field videoboard during the rain delay.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved