NEW YORK -- CC Sabathia was up in the zone, and so he went down hard.
There were fastballs, sliders and change-ups thrown high in the second, and the Rays put up an early six-spot in their 10-6 win over the Yankees
"He was up in the zone and they didn't miss them," Joe Girardi said after the nearly four-hour, nine-inning loss.
For the second consecutive start, Sabathia (9-9, 4.65) lasted five innings and allowed seven runs on nine hits. First, it was against the Red Sox. Now, it is against the Rays.
These are the teams the Yankees are trying to catch -- and they can't partly because Sabathia is unable to do his job as the ace.
"It's tough," Sabathia said. "Especially because we have been battling. We are right in the middle of this thing. I felt like if I could help us out we would be doing a lot better."
What particularly annoyed Girardi and Sabathia is the fact he could have escaped the second, limiting the damage, but it didn't work out that way.
"That is the frustrating part," Girardi said. "You can live with giving up one. You can live with giving up two, but when it is a six-spot that is pretty difficult."
With two outs, Sabathia gave up a walk, a single, a bunt single, a double and another single. It led to the additional five runs.
"I've got to keep working, keep pushing and try to get better," Sabathia said.
Nothing seems to be working. He is no longer the ace, and lately he hasn't even been particularly good.