NEW YORK (AP) - Jim Tracy knew the Rockies were in trouble after just one inning.
CC Sabathia had mowed through the top three hitters in his batting order, striking out two of them, and the New York Yankees had already pushed across a couple of runs.
``When you're facing a guy the magnitude of CC Sabathia, you can't give them a four- or five-run head start,' the Rockies' manager said following an 8-3 loss Saturday.
``That's just a very difficult chore to come back from,' Tracy said. ``And the other part is, a guy getting off to a start like that, jump-starting CC like that, knowing what they've got down there in the eighth and ninth inning, you start counting outs immediately.'
Tracy was concerned about stingy setup man David Robertson and ace closer Mariano Rivera, but Sabathia made sure New York didn't need them.
The big left-hander allowed one run over eight innings to win for the seventh time in eight starts, striking out nine in the process. The former Cy Young winner improved to 19-7 all-time in interleague play.
``CC shone tonight. He was good,' said Jason Giambi, who went 0 for 3 against him. ``I had a hard time picking up between slider and fastball. He hid the ball really well, and he was lights out tonight, and that's what he normally does. He's there big ace.'
A dozen pitchers began the day with nine wins, but Sabathia (10-4) won the race to double digits. He threw just 103 pitches, but manager Joe Girardi decided against letting him finish the game. Buddy Carlyle promptly gave up Ty Wigginton's two-run homer in the ninth.
Seth Smith drove in the Rockies' only other run with a pinch-hit single in the eighth.
The Yankees lost the series opener 4-2 on Friday night, and together with a series sweep four years ago at Coors Field, had lost four straight to the Rockies.
``We just got beat today,' Tracy said. ``They had a lot of base runners through the first four innings and really had some good, professional at_bats.'
Alex Rodriguez drove in three runs, Mark Teixeira hit a two-run homer, Jorge Posada had three hits and the Yankees pounded out 15 total. Everybody in the starting lineup had a hit off Rockies starter Aaron Cook (0-3) except Robinson Cano, who went 0 for 4 for the second straight game.
Brett Gardner laid down a perfect bunt toward third on Cook's first pitch of the game, swiped second base with ease, then sped home on Curtis Granderson's single to right.
Outfielder Eric Young bobbled the ball and Granderson wound up at second. The error proved costly moments later when A-Rod's base hit gave New York a 2-0 lead.
Granderson and Rodriguez helped add three more runs in the third.
New York's hot-hitting outfielder started off with a blooper to left, and Teixeira followed with a rocket to center. A-Rod then went opposite field for a two-run double, and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Nick Swisher, sliding head first to beat Ryan Spilborghs's throw home.
Back-to-back doubles by Swisher and Posada made it 6-0 in the sixth.
``I felt like I was making pitches early,' Cook said. ``They just found a couple of holes, and then later in the game is when I started giving up the doubles.'
It seemed as if Tracy conceded defeat late in the game.
He took star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki out in the seventh inning, and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and leading hitter Todd Helton in the eighth.
``It wasn't a lot of fun,' Helton said of facing Sabathia. ``It's his pure stuff. He was firing, locating well. He just pitched a really good game. A guy who has that kind of stuff and is pitching really well, tough to beat.'
NOTES: Cook allowed six runs, five earned, on 12 hits in 5 2-3 innings. ... Rockies closer Huston Street was unavailable after saving Friday night's 4-2 win. Jim Tracy said there was some soreness in Street's groin area. ... Derek Jeter (right calf) took 27 swings off a tee and 30 swings of soft toss Saturday at the Yankees' spring training complex.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved