Sabathia had yet another poor start Sunday afternoon, failing to get out of the fourth inning, and Yankees lost the rubber game of this three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays, 5-1.
Quick hook: The first pitch was delivered at 1:09 p.m., and by 1:12 the Rays were in front. Logan Forsythe led off the game with a double off the left-field wall, and two batters later Evan Longoria drove Forsythe home with a double down the right-field line.
Sabathia held the Rays at bay (no pun intended) in the second inning. But in the third, he allowed a one-out double to Desmond Jennings followed by a walk to Longoria, and both scored on a rare inside-the park home run by Wil Myers. The ball hit by Myers just eluded the grasp of Jacoby Ellsbury, bouncing off the top of the wall in right-center field. Ellsbury fell to the ground, and the ball scooted away. Right-fielder Carlos Beltran was slow to chase it down, and by the time he got it back in, Myers had come all the way around.
With runners on first and second and one out in the fourth, Longoria hit a grounder to first base that looked like an inning-ending double play ball. The Yanks got the out at second, but Sabathia failed to cover first base in time and the runner was safe. The next batter, Myers, smacked an RBI double, and Joe Girardi had seen enough. There were plenty of boos as Sabathia walked off the field.
All told, Sabathia went 3 2/3 innings, giving up five runs on 10 hits, with three strikeouts and one walk. It was his shortest regular-season outing since 2009. Even many of the outs Sabathia recorded were hard-hit balls. His record fell to 3-4, and his ERA rose to 5.75. That's the fourth-highest ERA among starters in all of Major League Baseball.
One run: The Yankees got on the board in the second inning. Mark Teixeira led off with a single and Alfonso Soriano moved him to third on a double. Teixeira eventually scored on a Yangervis Solarte sacrifice fly.
But that was all the Yanks would get off Rays starter Erik Bedard and three relievers. The first three batters in the Yankees' lineup -- Ellsbury, Derek Jeter and Beltran -- combined to go 0-for-12. Brett Gardner was the only Yankee with two hits (and both were infield singles).
Bedard (1-1, 4.35) went six innings, giving up one run on six hits, to earn his first win as a starter since last June, when he was a member of the Houston Astros. He had been 0-9 in his past 15 major-league starts, the second-longest active losing streak in baseball, behind only the Cleveland Indians' Carlos Carrasco (0-12, 17 starts).
Pen work: Alfredo Aceves, just called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Saturday, gave the Yankees' bullpen some much-needed rest.
Aceves came on for Sabathia in the fourth and finished the game -- going 5 1/3 innings, giving up no runs on just three hits, with five strikeouts and no walks.
What's next: The Yankees are flying to the West Coast after the game, to begin a three-game series in Anaheim against the Angels on Monday night.