Sabathia dazzles for Brewers in 9-1 win
SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—CC Sabathia’s transition from Cleveland to Milwaukee and from the American League to the National League has been seamless to say the least.
The ace left-hander pitched a complete game for the Brewers in their final game before the All-Star break and another in their first game back.
Sabathia, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, tossed a four-hitter Friday night to win his third straight start since joining Milwaukee, leading the Brewers past the San Francisco Giants 9-1.
“I can’t say I feel like a Cy Young winner but I feel good,” Sabathia said. “I wasn’t worried what the starts would be like. I was worried about how I’d get along with the guys in the clubhouse. That’s been the easy part. It’s been relaxing.”
It was Sabathia’s 21st career complete game and second straight. His lone blemish for much of the night was a leadoff infield single in the first inning by Fred Lewis.
Sabathia (3-0), pitching in his native Northern California for the first time since the Brewers acquired him in a trade with Cleveland, retired 17 straight batters until Lewis reached on an error to start the seventh. Aaron Rowand homered leading off the eighth for the second hit off Sabathia to end the shutout bid.
“He was really on tonight,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said. “He was just banging strike after strike. He was Cy Young.”
Sabathia struck out 10 and didn’t walk a batter in the 110-pitch effort.
Rowand has seen his share of Sabathia, as they faced each other in the minors.
“When he came up he threw a lot more fastballs and was more of a power pitcher,” Rowand said. “But as he’s gotten a little older, he throws a lot more of his off-speed stuff. He’s gotten better and better the longer he’s been in the league because he’s not only got great stuff but he knows how to pitch.”
He doubled in the third, his third hit in 10 at-bats this season, and scored Milwaukee’s first run. All of his hits have been for extra bases, including two home runs. He scored his team’s first run on J.J. Hardy’s RBI groundout, then Hardy doubled in a run in the seventh.
Sabathia outpitched Matt Cain (5-8) to improve to 2-4 on the road this season. Sabathia, the burly left-hander from nearby Vallejo, also won in the Giants’ waterfront ballpark in June 2005.
“He’s one of those big stoppers,” Cameron said. “He has that kind of dominating stuff.”
Giants manager Bruce Bochy was ejected for arguing a call during the fifth inning. He came out of the dugout to complain after home plate umpire Jim Wolf ruled Ryan Braun safe at third after a triple to left-center. San Francisco third baseman Jose Castillo took the relay throw from shortstop Omar Vizquel and appeared to tag Braun, but Wolf—covering third when crew chief Ed Montague ran to the outfield to watch the hit—called Braun safe.
Bochy and Braun engaged in a brief discussion and the Giants’ manager turned and began walking back to the dugout when he was tossed. Bochy then came back out to argue further. It marked the fourth time this season and the 37th time in his managerial career that Bochy has been ejected.
“It’s frustration and it just builds up. When you’re going against a guy like Sabathia, you know you’re not in a position to give up any runs, so that probably caused a lot of the frustration—knowing you’re in for a battle and you don’t want to give up any cheap runs,” Bochy said.
Cain saw his winless stretch reach three starts with his second straight loss, and the Giants’ major league-worst home record fell to 17-29. They have just four victories in their last 16 home games.
Cain, one of three Giants’ starters with 100 or more strikeouts at the All-Star break, recorded his 500th strikeout when he fanned Russell Branyan to end the fifth. Cain also matched his season high with five walks, one intentional.
Both San Francisco second baseman Ray Durham and first baseman Rich Aurilia were late scratches after arriving to the ballpark with the flu bug that’s been going through the Giants clubhouse. Ivan Ochoa replaced Durham and John Bowker was in for Aurilia.
“We have some pretty bad crud going around right now,” Bochy said.
Sabathia left 95 tickets for friends and family. … Giants RHP Merkin Valdez (strained elbow) was examined by Dr. James Andrews over the All-Star break and nothing was found to be wrong structurally. Bochy hopes he can begin throwing again sometime in the next week. … Yost plans a platoon approach in his rotation. RHP Seth McClung will start in road games and RHP David Bush at home. That means McClung will pitch Monday in St. Louis. “I don’t think this is anything new or spectacular,” Yost said. “It’s been done over the ages.” … On Sept. 6, the Giants will dedicate a 9-foot bronze statue in honor of Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda—part of the club’s celebration of its 50th anniversary in San Francisco. … The Giants drew 40,882 for their ninth sellout.