CC Sabathia may not have posted the prettiest pitching line Wednesday night against Oakland, but it was enough for him to earn the victory.
He rebounded from a rough second inning and went on to record his first win in more than a month.
Latest Yankees stories
Sabathia allowed two runs and seven hits in 51/3 innings, walking two and striking out one in the Yankees' 5-4 victory Wednesday night.
The veteran lefthander allowed both runs and four hits in the second, before retiring 10 of the next 13 batters he faced.
"I think [it was] just command of both sides of the plate," Sabathia said of what changed after the second. "The changeup I was throwing earlier in the game was a little flat. Me and talked a lot between innings, and just made an adjustment. The pitch just started working for me. It opened up the inside of the plate."
Sabathia also said he had his right knee drained since his last start and that helped him last night.
"It felt fresh, the knee felt good," Sabathia said. "It's just part our plan."
Sabathia said that his knee needed to be drained, and it happened after the team returned from last week's road trip in Anaheim.
"His location got better. I think his sinker got better as time went on," manager Joe Girardi said.
Sabathia was replaced with one out and one runner on in the sixth inning after throwing 88 pitches (59 for strikes).
"He was getting in some long counts, [it was] a hot night, they had some righthanded hitters up, and has had some success off of him," Girardi said of his decision to pull Sabathia.
Sabathia said he would "always" like to stay in a game and he still felt strong, "but that's Joe's job," and added "our bullpen has been so good."
Sabathia's ERA dropped to 5.47, but it is still the sixth-highest in the majors.
Neither strikeouts nor walks have been a problem for him, as he is striking out 7.5 and walking 1.8 batters per nine innings. He entered Wednesday night with the 16th best strikeout-per-walk rate in the majors.
His problems have come once batters make contact, as he has allowed 10.9 hits per nine innings (only teammate Nathan Eovaldi has allowed more) and 1.7 home runs per nine.
Sabathia said he would look to build off his performance and help get his season on track.
"I'm going to put this in the memory bank and work off that," he said. "I have things to prove. Hopefully later in the season, I'll start pitching better later in games."