That’s what CC Sabathia said when someone asked whether he pitched better tonight than he had in some of those seven straight wins he had coming into this game.
“CC’s been pitching like that for a long, long time,” Derek Jeter said. “You’d like to see him get a win. He definitely pitched well enough to win, (but) we just couldn’t get anything going off Shields. He’s been doing that all year to most teams that he’s faced. He was better than us today.”
I thought Sabathia would say that he made three mistakes tonight, but he counted only two. In the first inning, he left a curveball up to Evan Longoria, and Longoria hit it for an early home run. The Yankees had gone eight games without allowing a home run, and Sabathia hadn’t given one up since Alfronso Soriano took him deep on June 19.
“Just a bad pitch,” Sabathia said.
The other mistake was a slider to Sam Fuld. It was supposed to be down and away, but Sabathia left it inside and Fuld was able to pull it for a two-out, RBI triple. I thought Sabathia would be disappointed in the two-out walk immediately before the triple — it came against .197 hitter Elliot Johnson — but Sabathia wasn’t sweating that at-bat.
“There was a lefty on deck,” he said. “I feel like I can make pitches and get those guys out most of the time.”
And here’s Derek Jeter.
• Not much the hitters could say on a night like this. James Shields actually has a lower ERA than Sabathia this season, and he was terrific against the Yankees less than two weeks ago in New York. It’s not like they didn’t know what was coming. “(Shields) threw a lot of strikes, and we were chasing pitches,” Robinson Cano said. “We all know he can really pitch, so when he throws strikes, it’s hard to lay off pitches against him.”
• Shields beat the Yankees for only the fourth time in 18 career starts. Girardi said Shields command and curveball have gotten better. Jeter said it’s that notorious changeup that’s making the difference. “His fastball moves,” Jeter said. “It runs in, he throws his cutter, throws his curveball, but his changeup is his pitch. He lives and dies with his changeup. It’s really tough to pick it up.”
• The Yankees only sign of life came when Jeter and Cano both doubled in the eighth inning. Cano’s two-out RBI drove in the Yankees only run and chased Shields from the game. “It was a curveball,” he said. “That’s what he threw me the first time, so I thought he might throw another one here. That’s what he was throwing to lefties, guys he knows can hit home runs. That’s what I saw all game.”
• Obviously, the decision to pinch hit Curtis Granderson in the seventh was all about trying to get a two-run homer. “Just trying to tie it up with one swing of the bat,” Girardi said. “Grandy has the ability to do that. I talked to him after he did all of his treatment today, and he said he was OK to pinch hit.”
• Granderson put together a good at-bat in the ninth, but ultimately went down swinging to end the game. “He had some pretty good swings,” Girardi said. “He fouled a couple off, and as I said, our guys played hard on this trip and to lose this game you move on and you go try to win a series at home.”
• The Yankees stole 11 bases in the first three games of this series. They didn’t steal any tonight.
• Jeter’s eighth-inning double moved him into a tie with Wade Boggs for 25th on baseball’s all-time hits list. He has 3,010 and needs 10 more to tie Rafael Palmeiro for 24th all-time.
• Fuld’s triple was only the fourth extra-base hit and first triple that Sabathia has allowed to a left-handed hitter this season.
• Mark Teixeira did build a small five-game hitting streak during this road trip — that ended tonight — but he had only two RBI and 10 strikeouts during these eight games immediately after the all-star break.
• Eric Chavez went 1-for-3 with a double and played six innings at third base in tonight’s rehab game with Tampa. Rafael Soriano threw 16 pitches. He pitched one inning, allowing two hits and an earned run.
• Sabathia is now 0-2 in three career starts on his birthday.
Associated Press photos