Sabathia is enjoying his best stretch since winning five starts in a row from Aug. 7-Sept. 3, 2001—his rookie year. The burly left-hander, who has posted a 3.27 ERA during the streak, had lost his previous five starts. He said his recent success results from not tipping his pitches and avoiding the urge to overthrow the ball.
“Early in the year, I was just going out there trying to throw the ball as hard as I (could),” said Sabathia, who gave up three runs and struck out seven in six innings of a 9-3 win over Toronto on Friday.
“I think I just have more control over what’s going on, when I’m nice and easy as opposed to being all over the place with my body and trying to throw the ball 100 miles per hour.”
Cleveland will look to bounce back from a 4-3 loss to Detroit on Wednesday, just their third defeat in 13 games. The Indians, who went 19-8 in August, are one game out of the AL wild-card lead.
Victor Martinez continued his hot hitting, going 2-for-4 and driving in all three runs Wednesday. He is batting .474 (18-for-38) with four homers and 12 RBIs in his last 10 games.
Minnesota continued its offensive struggles in a 1-0 loss to last-place Kansas City on Wednesday.
The Twins set a club record by getting 13 hits in a shutout loss, beating the previous mark of 12 set in a 1-0 defeat to the California Angels in 1975.
It was the second straight game in which every Twins starter hit safely, but Minnesota went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. The Twins have played four 1-0 games since Aug. 9, going 2-2.
“When we get men into scoring position or on base, it’s like we go into defensive mode instead of offensive mode,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “I don’t know how to get guys out of it.”
Minnesota finished its road trip 3-3 against sub-.500 teams, Texas and Kansas City. The three-time defending division champions trail the wild-card lead by five games.