Let’s start with CC Sabathia after this 8-3 win for the Yankees. He went from hittable through three innings (three runs, four hits) to unhittable the next 4 1/3 to secure his first win. The lefty said it started with a mechanical tip from pitching coach Larry Rothschild.
“Larry came to me after the third and he just said, ‘Make sure you get on top of the fastball.’ That was all I needed to hear,” Sabathia said. “The command came. (Chris Stewart) called a good game. So I just kind of got in the flow.”
Sabathia said his fastball velocity wasn’t what it was previously, but that fact “helped me stay under control.” Sabathia is 9-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his last 10 starts against Minnesota, including the postseason. He gave the Yankees their third quality start in 11 tries and his first in three.
“Hopefully we can get on a roll,” Sabathia said. “We do have a really deep pitching staff and a really good one. It’s just up to us to make the pitches and show that potential.”
Stewart’s contributions both behind the plate and with the bat didn’t go unnoticed.
“Player of the game,” Brett Gardner said.
The light-hitting backup catcher tied his career high with two hits and set a career high with three RBI. The offensive contributions, he said, are always a bonus.
“Not only one of my best nights, but it was in Yankee Stadium of all places and I’m wearing pinstripes,” Stewart said. “Definitely one I’m not going to forget.”
Gardner made a great catch to end the Twins’ two-run third, racing in and diving to make the grab. But he hurt his right wrist in the process.
“I was a little worried about it coming in,” Gardner said. “I definitely could feel it a little bit. But as the game went on, it actually felt a little better and a little better. So I’m not really too concerned about it.”
The 7, 8 and 9 guys in the order — Eduardo Nunez, Gardner and Stewart — combined to go 6 for 10 with four runs scored, two doubles and five RBI. Nunez went 2 for 4 with an RBI. He wasn’t even in the original lineup. He was only inserted at short in a chain of moves after Mark Teixeira was scratched with flu-like symptoms. The Yankees’ depth is going to be important because as Joe Girardi said. “Not everyone in that room is 25.”
Girardi said his guess is that Teixeira will be able to play Wednesday night.
The pitching matchup will feature Hiroki Kuroda and Jason Marquis.