ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - CC Sabathia cruised for five innings in his previous start before two homers in the sixth inning ruined a standout outing.
"My stuff is there,'' he said after losing to Boston last Friday at the Stadium. "I'm confident, I feel strong. Just a matter of me going out and putting a game together.''
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On an unusual night at Tropicana Field -- one that featured the Yankees turning a triple play, hitting two triples in one inning and slamming back-to-back homers in another -- Sabathia did just that in a 10-2 victory over the Rays in front of 28,085.
"It felt good," said Sabathia (2-2), who allowed two runs (one earned), seven hits and two walks in seven innings, striking out six. "Just working both sides of the plate. We got off to a big lead and these guys played great defense, so I was just trying to get them back in the dugout as quick as possible."
Sabathia lowered his ERA from 6.63 to 5.19 against a team that had scored 14 runs in its previous nine games.
The Yankees (10-6), who have won eight of their last 11, scored six runs and had 10 hits in five innings against Rays lefty David Price (2-1), including back-to-back homers by Alfonso Soriano and Brian McCann in a span of four pitches in the fifth.
The Yankees finished with 16 hits, including nine for extra bases, after accumulating four doubles, two triples and two homers in the first six innings.
Brian Roberts tripled, doubled and singled. Soriano and Yangervis Solarte also had three hits each, including a home run. Jacoby Ellsbury, Derek Jeter and McCann added two hits each.
It didn't fit in the things-come-in-threes theme of the evening, but there also was the sight of rightfielder Carlos Beltran nearly kneecapping himself in the third inning while pursuing Desmond Jennings' foul ball, crashing into and tumbling over the short wall in right. After being tended to in the outfield by Joe Girardi and trainer Steve Donohue, he stayed in the game. "I thought he was hurt bad," Girardi said.
Said Beltran: "A little bit sore, my [left] shoulder and my [right] wrist, but I'm fine . . . Thank God I was able to get up. I'll have to see how I wake up [Friday]. Hopefully I'm fine."
The most memorable part of the night came in the second.
Leading 4-0 to begin the inning, Sabathia allowed a double to Evan Longoria and walked Wil Myers. But Sean Rodriguez grounded a first-pitch sinker to third baseman Solarte, who started an around-the-horn triple play. Scott Sizemore, seeing his first career action at first, scooped Roberts' low throw to complete it. It was the third triple play by the Yankees in almost exactly four years, all with Sabathia on the mound.
"Never been a part of one," Roberts said with a smile. "Apparently CC does it all the time."
Sabathia had been 4-12 with a 4.46 ERA in 23 starts against Tampa Bay as a Yankee. He was winless in his previous eight starts in this cavernous dome.
Price owned a 6-1 record and 2.41 ERA in nine previous starts against Sabathia. But there was no comparison between the two this time.
The Yankees scored one in the first on McCann's RBI single and three in the second on RBI triples by Roberts and Ellsbury and an RBI single by Jeter.
"We've seen the way I've blown leads the past [two seasons], so I was just trying to stay focused," Sabathia said. "I think the chemistry on this team is really good, as opposed to the past couple of years. We're having fun playing and the starting pitching's been great. You don't want to be that guy to mess it up."