When you're good you're good, and CC Sabathia was good last night. He kept the Houston Astro hitters in check for 6+ innings and watched his teammates beat up on Doug Fister as the Yankees took another one from an AL contender and continued to ruin the plans for Team Sell.
Much like Michael Pineda before him, CC got bit early by the longball. This time it took until the 6th pitch of the 1st, when Marwin Gonzalez clocked one to put Houston ahead 1-0, and it looked like CC was going to be in for a long night. Then he struck out Jose Altuve and Evan Gattis to end the inning, didn't allow another hit until the 5th, and worked into the 7th without giving up another run before Gattis hit a solo shot to lead off that inning.
The 1-0 Houston lead didn't last long. The Yankee lineup struck back for 2 in the top of the 2nd when Brian McCann singled and Mark Teixeira doubled to lead off, and came around to score on a Didi Gregorius sac fly and a Chase Headley single. The Yanks worked Fister hard in the 2nd and in the next inning when they scratched another run across on 2 a pair of singles sandwiched around a walk, and all those early pitches paid off in the 5th.
Fister hit McCann with a pitch to start things off and Teix singled to center to put 2 on with nobody out again. Just a couple of table setters doing what they do, you know? Fister intentionally walked Starlin to load the bases with 1 out, but Headley plated a run with a deep flyout and Aaron Hicks of all people came through with a 2-run triple to right to plate the other 2 and give the Yankees a 5-run cushion.
CC used up a bit of that on the Gattis homer and Anthony Swarzak used up a bit on another solo shot, but once Joe went to his real bullpen it was over. Dellin Betances worked out of a partially self-made jam in the 8th and Andrew Miller was cash money in the 9th. For what feels like the first time in a long time, to me at least, a good CC start was not wasted.
- 6.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. I don't mind the dingers when they're solo, and I liked a lot of the non-dinger bat sounds I heard against CC last night. A lot of the balls in play sounded like crap right off the bat, like you knew it was weak contact as soon as the hitter hit it. That's how you know CC is on these days and he was on last night.
- Hits up and down the lineup last night. Only guy not in on the action was Brett Gardner. Teix, Castro, and Carlos Beltran all had 2 and Jacoby Ellsbury had 3.
- Still no A-Rod, who is firmly glued to the bench. I really thought we'd see him pinch hit against the lefty late in the game, just so Joe could get him an at-bat in a favorable situation, but Joe stuck with Hicks and it paid off. It definitely feels like the Yankees are moving on from A-Rod. Hicks has hit worse than A-Rod all year, but he's getting the ABs right now because the Yankees need to decide what they're doing with him next year. They don't really have to decide that with Alex. I think they'll keep him around through the end of this year to see if he can get to 700 homers. But once next offseason rolls around, they'll cut him.