CC steps up at Stadium

September, 20, 2013
9/20/13
11:19
PM ET
CC SabathiaAP Photo/Bill KostrounOnce again, the Yankees needed CC Sabathia to be an ace. Friday night, he delivered.
NEW YORK -- CC Sabathia finally pitched like CC Sabathia.

The Yankees southpaw pitched his best game in nearly four months by throwing seven innings of one-run ball in the Yankees' 5-1 win over the Giants at the Stadium on Friday night. It marked the first time Sabathia allowed just one run since he bested the Red Sox on May 31, also in the Bronx.

"It's time to go," Sabathia said. "We need to try to win out."

As the Yankees try to sneak into one of the wild-card spots, they haven't received much help from Sabathia. He entered Friday 13-13 with a 4.90 ERA, and hadn't allowed fewer than three runs since holding the Twins to two on July 3. In his previous two outings, Sabathia allowed a combined nine runs in 13 1/3 innings in losses to the Orioles and Red Sox.

"CC is a competitor, a fighter. He's been that way ever since I met him," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "There was some frustration but I had never seen CC lose his fight."

Friday, facing a weak Giants lineup, Sabathia finally pitched like a No. 1 starter. While he did put his fair share of runners on base, he was able to make the big pitches to get out of those jams, something he hadn't been able to do recently.

In the first inning, he induced a double play after putting runners on the corners with one out, and he used another double play in the fourth after the Giants put two men on. The Giants tagged him for their lone run in the third inning, and Sabathia yielded seven hits while walking three.

Girardi credited Sabathia for having command of his fastball, calling it "crisp."

"Sequences were good, [JR] Murphy called a great game and we were kind of on the same page," Sabathia said. "I thought I was a little erratic with the control, but we were able to make pitches and keep them off the board for the most part."

Alex Rodriguez's go-ahead grand slam in the seventh allowed Sabathia to earn the win and improve to 14-13. Sabathia has now won each of his past four starts at Yankee Stadium, and has won three of his past five games. Sabathia acknowledged there was satisfaction in pitching well in a big spot.

"It means a lot," Sabathia said. "But I got a start in five days and I'll be ready for that."

With just eight games left, and the Yankees still trailing in the wild-card standings, the team is essentially in must-win situations for the remainder of the season. Sabathia did his part on Friday night, and he's confident his team could go 8-0 to close out the year.

"Of course. Why couldn't we?" Sabathia said. "Anything can happen. We got the guys in here. See what happened tonight and hopefully we can just keep playing well."

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
13 2.77 141 136
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146