CC Sabathia didn't spend much time with Milwaukee in 2008, though the stay was certainly memorable for the veteran left-hander.
Pitching in Miller Park for the first time since helping the Brewers reach the postseason six years ago, Sabathia tries to avoid a third straight losing start while looking to help the New York Yankees extend his former club's season-high slide to four games Saturday night.
Acquired from Cleveland on July 7, 2008, Sabathia (3-4, 5.75 ERA) went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA and 128 strikeouts in 17 starts to lead Milwaukee to its first playoff appearance since 1982. He recorded seven of his 10 complete games that season with the Brewers, then signed a seven-year, $161 million deal with the Yankees in 2009.
"When I got traded (to Milwaukee), we only played here six weeks, eight weeks," Sabathia told the Yankees' official website. "But I feel like I had been here my whole career. I wasn't here a long time, but my time here, it was a good time."
Though Sabathia is 7-1 with a 2.13 ERA in 12 career starts at Miller Park, he hasn't enjoyed himself while allowing nine runs and 19 hits in 8 2-3 innings to lose his last two overall. He gave up five runs and 10 hits in 3 2-3 innings of a 5-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday.
"I feel like I could turn this thing around," said Sabathia, who is trying to rebound from last season when he went 14-13 with a 4.78 ERA in 32 starts.
"I think last year I got down on myself and made myself miserable," he added. "This year I'm going to stay positive. I know I can get these guys out."
Sabathia has faced the Brewers once since leaving Milwaukee, allowing six hits and striking out 13 in 7 2-3 innings of a 5-0 home win in 2011.
New York (19-15) improved to 3-0 during interleague play while winning its third straight overall, 5-3 on Friday. Rookie Yangervis Solarte's three-run homer highlighted a four-run fourth inning for the Yankees.
Batting .304 with a team-leading 18 RBIs, the Venezuelan third baseman is 7 for 17 with eight RBIs in his last four road games.
"He's played well and he deserves to be out there," manager Joe Girardi said.
Carlos Gomez had two hits for Milwaukee (22-14), which leads the NL Central by four games but has lost seven of nine. He's 6 for 14 on a homestand that began with an 8-3 victory over Arizona on Monday.
Though Gomez is 2 for 10 versus Sabathia, teammate Aramis Ramirez is 10 for 19 against him. Ramirez, however, is 3 for 46 in his last 13 games.
Scheduled Milwaukee starter Kyle Lohse (4-1, 2.72) is 4-0 in six starts since he lost his season opener to Atlanta, but has not factored in the decision of the last two. The right-hander gave up two runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 4-3, 10-inning loss at Cincinnati on Sunday.
Lohse is 1-0 with a 2.88 ERA in his last four interleague starts. He's 1-3 with a 5.46 ERA in five regular-season outings against the Yankees, but hasn't faced them since 2005.
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