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Sabathia helps stop Yankees' losing streak

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Velocity readings on the scoreboard were not the number that CC Sabathia focused on Friday night. The number that concerned Sabathia was five, the number of consecutive losses in the New York Yankees' worst losing streak of the season.

Not only did Sabathia help end the losing streak, but he also dominated along the way.

Sabathia allowed one run and six hits while striking out 10 over 7 1/3 sharp innings for his first win in over a month as the Yankees welcomed Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis back to the lineup in a 4-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox.

"I always feel like it's my responsibility when I'm out there to pitch well enough to try to win," Sabathia said. "We're having a tough week and getting swept by the Mets you want to go out and have a good game, and I was able to do that tonight."

The Yankees won after struggling to score in a four-game sweep against the New York Mets.

Their losing streak started when Sabathia (5-4) was rocked for a season-high seven runs and eight hits in seven innings Sunday at Tampa Bay, but Friday there was little indication of another poor showing.

"He expects so much out of himself," New York left fielder Vernon Wells said. "He's our ace and he's our workhorse and anytime he's on the mound, he wants to give us a chance to win. He was hard on himself after the last one but that's what the good ones do, they bounce back and get better.

"CC was really good," Teixeira added. "Once we got that lead, you could tell that he wasn't going to give it up."

For most of the season Sabathia's fastball was in the 89 to 91 mph range, but as the night wore on, several were thrown at 92 mph and a few hit 94.

"He was throwing it harder," manager Joe Girardi joked when asked if Sabathia was doing anything differently. "I don't think so. He was the same guy. He's been throwing that pitch for a long time, it seems like when it gets hot he gets better."

"When I was younger I did (think about velocity)," Sabathia said. "I felt that's how I was getting guys out, but as I got older, I know it's more about location than velocity."

The best indication of location dominating the night came when he navigated his way through the middle of Boston's order in the seventh mostly with his slider.

After Dustin Pedroia led off with a double to right, David Ortiz got ahead 2-0, but Sabathia got consecutive swings and misses before the Boston designated hitter lightly tapped a slider for a groundout to first base. Sabathia lost his shutout bid when Mike Napoli doubled to deep right field, but recovered to strike out Stephen Drew on a slider and retire David Ross on a groundout to second.

Sabathia won for the first time since beating Toronto on April 27. In between victories he had been 0-2 with a 4.85 ERA in five starts, a stretch that equaled the second longest period of his career without a win.

"He was outstanding," Boston manager John Farrell said. "He threw pitches for strikes and stayed out of the middle of the plate. Anytime he was in a fastball count, he'd go to his breaking ball or his change-up to keep us off stride."

After Sabathia retired Jackie Bradley Jr, he walked off to a standing ovation and was replaced by David Robertson. Robertson recorded the final two outs of the eighth, and Mariano Rivera allowed two hits in the ninth but retired Napoli and Drew for his 19th save in 20 opportunities.

After missing New York's first 53 games recovering from a right wrist injury, Teixeira drew a walk, scored New York's first run and made eight putouts at first base. Youkilis returned following a 30-game absence with a back injury and had an RBI single in the fifth.

Jon Lester (6-2) allowed four runs and six hits over 6 1/3 innings and dropped his second straight decision as the Red Sox lost for the sixth time in their last 17 games.

"The biggest thing is getting the ball down in the zone consistently," Lester said. "That's been kind of the focal point for me the past couple of starts.

Teixeira led off the second with a walk in his first plate appearance and scored on Jayson Nix's RBI single to left field. The Yankees made it 2-0 on Ichiro Suzuki's line drive base hit to left that scored Wells.

Lester retired the side in the third and fourth before hitting David Adams with a pitch to start the fifth. He retired Ichiro on a ground out that resulted in Yankee manager Joe Girardi getting ejected by second base umpire Vic Carapazza because he seemed to believe that Drew's foot came off the bag on a force play. But three batters later Youkilis made it 3-0 with a base hit.

NOTES: To make room for Teixeira and Youkilis, the Yankees optioned RHPS Ivan Nova and Vidal Nuno to Triple-A Scranton Wilkes Barre. Nova, who has not started since April 27 against Toronto, will be stretched out as a starting pitcher after throwing six innings out of the bullpen. Nuno, who made three starts, will also rejoin the rotation in the minors. Teixeira said one thing he will not do is use the weighted bat, which caused his injury in the first place. "The wrist feels great," Teixeira said. "It really does. I've had a similar injury on my left wrist so now it's even. I'm more symmetrical. There's no soreness, no stiffness. There's nothing to make anybody think there's something wrong with the wrist." ... Boston CF Jacoby Ellsbury sat out with tightness in his groin that he felt while stealing his fifth base on Thursday in Philadelphia. ... Red Sox OF Shane Victorino (strained left hamstring) and 3B Will Middlebrooks (lower back strain) are both on track to return on time from the DL. Victorino has felt no issues while doing baseball activities and is expected to spend two days on a minor-league rehab assignment before returning on June 5. Middlebrooks has been running and swinging the bat and is on track to return June 8. The Red Sox will take early batting practice Saturday and both players are expected to participate. ... The Yankees announced that their May 19 postponed game against the Toronto Blue Jays will be made up as a day-night doubleheader on Aug. 20. ... Regarding the play that led to his 22nd career ejection, Girardi said that his only contention was that Carapazza should have asked for help on the play. After viewing the replay, Girardi said that the call was correct.
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