DETROIT -- The moment he released the pitch, a look of disgust swept over the face of CC Sabathia.
The desperate Yankees needed something close to perfection from their ace. But he had just made another mistake, one that Miguel Cabrera turned into a two-run homer and a 4-0 lead. Sabathia winced. It was all he could do as the Tigers pounded him in an 8-1 victory that clinched a sweep of the American League Championship Series.
"It's embarrassing to come out and not give my team a chance to win," Sabathia said. "I pride myself on trying to give us a chance and I didn't do that tonight."
Just last Friday, in an elimination game against the Orioles, Sabathia willed the Yankees into their date with the Tigers. But Thursday, he made it difficult to believe he was the same pitcher who threw a complete game to clinch the Division Series.
The Tigers tagged him for six runs (five earned) and 11 hits, including two homers, in only 3 2/3 innings. Sabathia insisted that his left elbow, which landed him on the disabled list this season, gave him no problems.
"It felt good," he said. "It felt good enough to pitch tonight."
Still, general manager Brian Cashman said the Yankees intend to take no chances.
"Let's put it this way, we're going to look at that elbow, no doubt about it," Cashman said. "That will be on the list of things we have to look at now that the offseason's here. Whether he wants to or not, we're going to go look into this thing and make sure everything's OK."
At no point did Sabathia look comfortable on the mound. Delmon Young, who was named the ALCS MVP, continued his torrid postseason, singling home Omar Infante to put Sabathia and the Yankees behind 1-0 in the first inning.
First baseman Mark Teixeira botched two routine grounders that led to another run in the third.
In the fourth, the Tigers rocked Sabathia for four runs before sending him on his walk of shame. Cabrera's two-run homer, which sailed far over the leftfield wall, pushed the lead to 4-0. Two batters later, Jhonny Peralta swatted another two-run shot, sending Sabathia out of the game shortly after with his team down 6-0.
Sabathia was 2-0 in his three previous starts in an elimination game, including his one-run, complete game to beat the Orioles in Game 5 of the ALDS. But in taking the loss, he tied his postseason worst by allowing 11 hits.
"I was terrible today," Sabathia said. "Didn't make pitches. Changeup was a non-factor, fastball command at the end wasn't good."