OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -CC Sabathia heard the cheers when he walked to the bullpen and even more when he was introduced to the crowd in the stadium he used to come to as a kid. He finally gave his friends and family a start to cheer about in Oakland as well.
Sabathia pitched eight sharp innings to win in Oakland for the first time in six years, leading the New York Yankees to a 7-2 victory over the Athletics on Tuesday night.
``It means a lot,' Sabathia said. ``I feel like every time I come here, this is going to be the night I pitch well. Tonight just happened to be the night. ... I can put that behind me and go forward now.'
Derek Jeter had his third straight three-hit game and also knocked in the go-ahead run in a five-run sixth inning that helped Sabathia win his 10th straight August start and the Yankees snap a two-game skid.
``This was a big win for us,' manager Joe Girardi said. ``You do want to stop it.'
Sabathia (14-7) grew up going to games at the Coliseum, but has always struggled pitching here with a 1-4 record and 7.12 ERA in eight starts before Tuesday. He had no such problems this game, winning for the first time in Oakland since July 30, 2003, with Cleveland.
Sabathia gave up solo homers in the first two innings to Kurt Suzuki and Tommy Everidge that were coincidentally hit in the vicinity of where his season tickets for Raiders games are located. But he retired Ryan Sweeney with the bases loaded to get out of a fourth-inning jam and cruised the rest of the way.
He allowed five hits and struck out seven in eight innings in a crisp 94-pitch performance front of about 150 friends and family members.
``He got into the one jam with the bases loaded but that was pretty much it,' Jeter said. ``He was throwing strikes, working quick, the pitch count was down. He pretty much just continued what he's been doing.'
Sabathia didn't endear himself to the crowd when he brushed back Suzuki with two outs and nobody on in the first inning - apparent retaliation for Alex Rodriguez getting hit on the left elbow. Home plate umpire Gerry Layne immediately warned both teams. Then on the next pitch Suzuki got his own form of revenge with his 10th homer of the season.
The game was tied at 2 when the Yankees broke it open with five runs in the sixth against the A's bullpen. The inning featured a comical moment when Melky Cabrera tried to avoid a pitch from Jay Marshall but got hit and ended up tripping over Suzuki, drawing laughs from his teammates.
Jeter followed with his RBI single that gave the Yankees the lead and the captain his third straight three-hit game. Johnny Damon added an RBI double, Rodriguez drove in a run when he walked with the bases loaded, Hideki Matsui hit an RBI single and Jorge Posada capped the inning with a sacrifice fly. Marshall (0-1) allowed four runs while retiring only one batter.
``Jay was sharp his last time out but his command wasn't there tonight,' A's manager Bob Geren said. ``He's young and he'll get a lot more opportunities.'
Jeter is in the middle of quite a stretch, batting (20-for-36) over his past nine games. He also reached on two of Oakland's four errors, including one by third baseman Adam Kennedy that gave New York its first run.
``He's been good all year for us,' Girardi said. ``He's done a good job in that leadoff spot. He's sparked so many things.'
The Yankees loaded the bases in the first and fourth inning without scoring as Vin Mazzaro struck out Posada to end the first threat and got Mark Teixeira to hit into a double play to end the other.
NOTES: Girardi spent the morning watching a joint practice between the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers as a guest of Niners coach Mike Singletary. Girardi met former Raiders coach John Madden and owner Al Davis. ``Mr. Davis told me to tell Mr. Steinbrenner, 'Hi,'' Girardi said. ... The Yankees, who lead the majors with 182 homers, failed to go deep for the second straight game. ... Yankees OF Brett Gardner will need to keep the splint on his broken left thumb on for another week and Girardi said he will probably need 10 days after that before he can return to the majors. ... Kennedy had his first career four strikeout game and also committed an error.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved