CC Sabathia up and down, but Yanks beat Jays to finish trip 3-3

Brett Gardner, right, celebrates his two-run home run Brett Gardner, right, celebrates his two-run home run with teammate Jacoby Ellsbury (22) while playing against the Toronto Blue Jays during the fourth inning of a game in Toronto on Sunday, April 6, 2014. Photo Credit: AP / Nathan Denette

advertisement | advertise on newsday

TORONTO - Which CC Sabathia will the Yankees get this season?

The pitcher from the first two innings of his Opening Night start in Houston, when he allowed six runs, or the one from the final four frames of that game, in which he shut out the Astros?

Sabathia did not provide any definitive answers Sunday, but there was far more good than bad in the Yankees' 6-4 victory over the Blue Jays in front of 34,067 at Rogers Centre.

The victory allowed the Yankees to take two of three in the series and return to the Bronx for Monday's home opener against the Orioles with a 3-3 record.

"I thought we played well," said Derek Jeter, who had two singles and moved past Paul Molitor into eighth place on the all-time hits list with 3,320. "We pitched well, even yesterday, the game we lost . I like how we've been playing. It's always good to go home, especially with the home opener after a win."

The Yankees hit their first homer of the season in their 184th at-bat -- a two-run drive from Brett Gardner in a three-run fourth that made it 6-1 -- and received solid outings by Adam Warren and Shawn Kelley to set up David Robertson.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

He earned his second save with a scoreless ninth, though it wasn't without drama. The Blue Jays put runners on first and second with one out. Robertson then got pinch hitter Colby Rasmus to pop to third before Melky Cabrera, who homered in each of the three games, lined to right to end it.

"I think we're a pretty well-rounded team," Joe Girardi said of his impression six games in.

Sabathia was better than he had been in the opener, but he again showed why plenty of uncertainty surrounds him.

He was terrific after Cabrera homered on a cutter on his second pitch of the game, but after retiring the first two batters in the sixth, he allowed four straight hits and three runs.

Sabathia (1-1, 7.50 ERA) gave up four runs, seven hits and no walks in six innings, striking out six. He was most pleased with his fastball command, an issue in his first outing, and changeup.

"It was better," he said of his changeup. "I just used my fastball a lot more, in and out, and I think that helped me keep those guys off balance, and I got some good swings and misses with the changeup."

The Yankees took a 3-0 lead against Jays righthander Drew Hutchison in the first. Gardner walked, stole second and reached third on Jeter's grounder. Jacoby Ellsbury, coming off back-to-back three-hit games, picked up his first RBI as a Yankee with a grounder to second.

After Brian McCann walked and Alfonso Soriano -- who later snapped an 0-for-17 start to the season with a single -- was hit in the back with a pitch, Kelly Johnson, the first baseman now that Mark Teixeira is on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring, smacked a long two-run double to center to make it 3-0.

The Blue Jays got one back in the bottom half. Cabrera, who had homered on the third pitch of Masahiro Tanaka's major-league career on Friday, didn't wait that long this time, hitting Sabathia's 0-and-1 pitch deep to left-center to make it 3-1. At that point, Cabrera was 23-for-70 with six homers against the Yankees.

The Yankees took a 6-1 lead by scoring three runs in the fourth, with the key hits an RBI double by Yangervis Solarte (8-for-15 in four starts and 8-for-17 overall) and a two-run homer by Gardner, who hit a line drive over the rightfield wall.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Sabathia mostly cruised after Cabrera's homer, retiring nine straight after Maicer Izturis' two-out single in the third. That streak ended with two outs in the sixth when Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion singled and Dioner Navarro followed with an RBI double off the glove of a diving Solarte at third. Erik Kratz's two-run single made it 6-4.

Did that one-third of an inning put a cloud over his outing?

"No, it's just the cutter to Navarro, I would have wanted another pitch," Sabathia said. "But it kind of is what it is. We got the win and I'm happy about that."

Subscribe to Newsday’s sports newsletter for stories, photos and videos about your favorite New York teams plus national sports news and events.

You also may be interested in: