NEW YORK (AP) CC Sabathia outpitched John Lackey, Ramiro Pena drove in two runs while subbing for injured Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees stopped their mini-slide by beating the Boston Red Sox 5-2 on Saturday.
Rodriguez was hit in the lower left leg by Lance Berkman’s sharp grounder during batting practice, and medical personnel ran onto the field to check him. X-rays were negative and there was no indication when the All-Star third baseman would return to the lineup.
Robinson Cano hit a go-ahead single in the fifth inning for the Yankees, who had kept the best record in the majors despite losing four of their previous five games.
Sabathia (14-5) shook off an early homer by Victor Martinez and matched Tampa Bay’s David Price for the AL wins lead.
Pitching two days after the birth of his fourth child – another CC, his new son’s name is Carter Charles – Sabathia earned his 150th career victory. He pitched six-hit ball for eight innings and improved to 13-0 in 18 starts at Yankee Stadium since the 2009 All-Star break.
Sabathia was hardly his dominant self. Instead, as shadows crept across the field, the big left-hander was extremely efficient. He posted his first win against the Red Sox this year after his other three starts all resulted in no-decisions.
Sabathia, however, was especially tough on David Ortiz. The Boston slugger struck out three times and grounded into a double play in his other at-bat.
Mariano Rivera closed in the ninth for his 23rd save in 25 chances.
Lackey (10-7) was in trouble for most of his six innings. He’s won only once in his last seven starts, not what a Red Sox team running out of time needs down the stretch. Boston fell to 4-6 against the Yankees this year – the clubs play eight more times this season, including two in this wraparound series.
It was 2-all in the fifth when Lackey quickly retired the first two batters. Singles by Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira brought up Cano, and he lined an RBI single to right as J.D. Drew battled a tough sun field. Jorge Posada followed with a run-scoring single.
Pena hit an RBI single in the sixth. The fill-in third baseman also drove in a run with a groundout.
Martinez hit the first home run off Sabathia in more than two months, opening the second with a drive off his former Cleveland batterymate. Sabathia had gone 80 2-3 innings without allowing a homer.
Adrian Beltre and Mike Lowell followed with doubles that put Boston ahead 2-0.
Curtis Granderson hit an RBI triple in the second and scored the tying run on Pena’s grounder with Boston’s infield playing back. Lackey stabbed in vain for Pena’s bouncer, and slapped his hand into his glove when the ball got past him.
Umpire Jerry Layne’s slow strike three calls rankled both sides, with Ortiz and Swisher lingering around the plate to disagree. The sellout crowd was fooled, too – fans let out an ‘aww’ when Layne delayed after a close pitch to Ortiz, then let out an ‘ohh!’ a full second later when the ump rung him up.
NOTES: The crowd of 49,716 was the largest of the season at Yankee Stadium. … Berkman was booed during another hitless game that left him 2 for 22 since he was acquired from Houston. … Yankees LHP Andy Pettitte, out since July 18 with a groin injury, is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Monday and pitch a simulated game either Thursday or Friday at the team’s spring training complex in Tampa, Fla. If all goes well, he would make a minor league rehab start early the next week. … Boston OF Jacoby Ellsbury got the day off. He is 0 for 12 in three games since coming off the disabled list with a rib injury.
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