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Today I witnessed the best pitching performance I have seen from the Yankees ace. Too bad it was cut short.

CC Sabathia kept a no-hit bid going for 7 2/3 innings Saturday, losing the closest call of his career on a sharp single by former batterymate Kelly Shoppach in the New York Yankees’ 10-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Shoppach’s hit on a 1-0 pitch off the big lefty fell cleanly in front of left fielder Brett Gardner.

Joe Girardi immediately came out of the dugout to remove Sabathia, who walked two and struck out five. The left-hander threw 69 of his 111 pitches for strikes and benefited from spectacular defensive plays by Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano.

David Robertson pitched the final 1 1/3 innings to complete a combined two-hitter. Ben Zobrist doubled off the reliever with two outs in the ninth.

Cano hit a two-run homer off Tampa starter Wade Davis in the fourth inning, and the Yankees scored two more in the fifth on Derek Jeter’s run-scoring single and Teixeira’s RBI double. After going 0-17 for the first time in his career, Tex got three straight hits in his final three AB in the game.

Every Yankee starter got a hit except Nick Johnson, although he reached base on a walk. Tex led all Yankees with three hits in four plate appearances, followed by Brett Gardner with 2 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs. Curtis Granderson went 2 for 3 with two walks and one RBI. In his first game this season, catcher Francisco Cervelli earned a two-run double in the 8th inning.

The Yankees loaded the base in the top of the 9th and Gardner generated a walk to bring home Ramiro Pena, who had pinch run for Alex Rodriguez.

The Yankees go for the rubber match on Sunday afternoon, sending AJ Burnett to the mound for a 1:40pm start against Jamie Shields and the Tampa Bay Rays.

(AP photo by Mike Carlson)


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Mark Teixeira’s career-long homer drought is finally over. After connecting on the first pitch of the fifth inning on his 21st home run, Tex helped the Yankees sweep the Twins with a 6-4 victory.

Mariano Rivera picked up his 23rd save for the Bombers, who have won eight straight on the road, the first such streak since 1998. We all know what happened in 1998 and while the Yankees are not going to win 114 games, they are 6 games better than last year.

Alfredo Aceves started in place of the injured Chien-Ming Wang. Aceves gave up four runs on four hits in 3.1 innings.

David Robertson’s two walks were the only hiccups for the sterling New York bullpen. The relievers combined to allow two hits and no runs over the final 5 2/3 innings. Jonathan Albaladejo pitched 1.2 hitless innings for the win.

Derek Jeter hit an RBI single in the second inning to make it 3-0.

The Yankees gave two runs back in the second on errant throws. Aceves threw a ball away on a pickoff attempt at first base and Ransom had a throwing error at third base as the Twins cut the deficit to 3-2.

Ransom and Brett Gardner had RBI singles in the fourth, and Robertson steeled himself after the two run-scoring walks. He got Joe Mauer to ground out with the bases loaded to end the inning and keep the Yankees in the lead, 5-4.

Whattya think about last night? Hot damn! That guy on the mound was wheelin’ and dealin’!

Three starts ago, AJ Burnett could not even get out of the third inning against Boston. Since then Burnett has thrown 20.1 innings. He has allowed 10 hits and one earned run while walking 10 and striking out 26. His ERA has dropped to 3.93, and last night against the Mets he was nearly flawless. He gave up one hit and three walks while striking out a season high 10. The Yanks dominated the game again and won 5-0.

The Mets hitters could not touch his breaking pitches and his fastball (averaging 94 to 96 MPH) was a blur.

For the Bombers’ offense, it was a night of simplicity. Nick Swisher hit a home run in the third to give the Yanks a lead, and the team took off in the sixth.

To start the inning, Nick Swisher flew out. After that, Mark Teixeira doubled. Three pitches later, the Yanks saw three hitters go to the plate and four runs had scored. A-Rod singled in Teixeira; Cano doubled; and with runners on second and third, Jorge Posada took the first pitch of his at-bat over the wall in left center. Three run home run, five-run lead. Game over.

Burnett threw seven scoreless frames before giving way to the bullpen. Brian Bruney did a 1-2-3 eighth. He needed just seven pitches to get through the inning, and Dave Robertson closed it out with a scoreless ninth.

The Yankees have won the season series against the Mets, the first time since 2003 (which also happens to be the last time they were in the World Series). Tonight’s game is live on ESPN at 8:05 and Chien-Ming Wang is on the mound still looking for his first win of the season. I am feeling good about tonight’s game and hope Wang gets win #1.

The Yankees continued where they left off Wednesday night with runs in each of their first four innings last night, and jumped out to an 8-1 lead. Derek Lowe having absolutely nothing on the mound last night didn’t hurt.

Alex Rodriguez looks like he’s coming out of his slump. Yesterday, he went 3-for-5 with four RBI, He also hit a solo homer with two out in the first to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead. The homer was his 563rd of this career, tying him for 11th all-time with Reggie Jackson.

He would drive in two more with a big two-out single with the bases loaded in the seventh. Like a lot of teams have been doing Atlanta chose to avoid facing Mark Teixeira and walked him intentionally to face A-Rod. It didn’t work this time as he got two RBIs.

Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon also had very big games last night. Jeter picked up four hits and scored four times. Damon had three hits, including a big three-run triple in the top of the third. He drove in his fourth run with an RBI single in the eighth.

You could have swore Cano was not sitting tonight with the play of Cody Ransom. Ransom had a nice game playing in place of Cano. He went 2-for-5 with a double, 2 RBI, and two runs scored.

It was a very rough night for Andy Pettitte who couldn’t even hold a seven run lead. After getting the first two outs in the first he walked Chipper Jones and Brian McCann, and then allowed an RBI double to Yunel Escobar. Then, after a scoreless second and third everything fell apart for Andy in the fourth. By the time he was taken out of the game the Braves had scored five times and sent nine men to the plate.

The Yanks’ defense didn’t help Pettitte either. One pop up to the outfield fell in no-man’s land, and another fell off Brett Gardner’s glove for an error. His final line was pretty ugly; 3.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 95 pitches/59 strikes.

Besides David Robertson who allowed a run on three hits in a shaky two-third of an inning the bullpen did a very good job last night. Alfredo Aceves relieved Pettitte and pitched 2.1 scoreless innings. Phil Coke was also very impressive, he struck out two and allowed just one hit in two scoreless innings (26 pitches). And thanks to Robertson’s ineffectiveness, Mariano Rivera was forced to pick up a one-out save, the 499th of his career.

Good to see the Yanks take two of three heading into the second round of the Subway Series starting tonight at Citi Field. Boston lost with John Smoltz on the mound so the Yanks gained a game on the Sox.

The Yankees did get some bad news from the minor leagues. Xavier Nady took himself out in the fifth inning of last night’s Scranton/Wilkes-Barre game after feeling something in his right elbow. Brian Cashman said this could be a “worst-case scenario”. In other words his season might be over.

I don’t have much to discuss regarding tonight’s embarrassment.

Chien-Ming Wang started and pitched five innings of six hit ball, allowing three runs and walking one while striking out four. 42 of his 62 pitches went for strikes (68%). If it wasn’t for a Jorge Posada throwing error in the third inning, the game would have been much closer than the 4-0 score.

In the third inning, Posada’s throw to second flew over Derek Jeter’s head, allowing Yunel Escobar to advance to third, and two batters later, Brian McCann doubled home Escobar then Garret Anderson doubled home Chipper Jones and McCann to make it 3-0 with two outs. That was pretty much all the Braves needed tonight.

After Wang was lifted for a pinch hitter (Matsui) in the sixth, Phil Hughes came in and his stuff was electric! In my opinion, Hughes’ appearance tonight was the only good thing happening for the Yanks. His fastball clipped by at 96 MPH and his curveball was snapping across the plate. If anything, Hughes’ appearance was more solid than Wang’s. He struck out two in two frames, with 17 of his 27 pitches going for strikes.

David Robertson allowed a solo homer in the eighth to McCann.

It’s time to make a switcheroo — Hughes has earned the starting role and it’s time to relegate Wang to reliever duty in the bullpen.

The Yankees’ offense was dismal, pitiful, awful, (insert other negative adjectives here). They stranded 12 base runners and simply did not hit against Braves rookie Tommy Hanson. Jorge Posada went 0-4 with 4 strikeouts. A-Rod went 0-4, Tex went 0-3, Swisher went 0-5.

Only Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, and Melky Cabrera got hits (4 total) tonight.

I don’t have much more to say — the Yankees simply did not perform tonight. It’s time for them to have a team meeting and snap out of their interleague funk.

Aside from that, the Yankees are now 15-16 in interleague play under Joe Girardi — they clearly struggle when facing NL teams and with 5 games left this week, they need to get their act together…and fast.

Joba Chamberlain takes the mound tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. I will be on the road from my family home in NY to my home in Maryland during the game, so either I’ll blog the recap on Thursday morning or Trevor will fill you guys in.

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