Regardless of how well or poorly he pitches, CC Sabathia always puts the blame on his broad shoulders if the Yankees don't win when he starts.
But make no mistake. Although a high pitch count and a few mistakes contributed to a shorter-than-he-would-have-liked outing, Sabathia wasn't the primary culprit Friday night. Nor was plate umpire Jordan Baker, whom the lefthander still seethed at afterward.
No, that would be the collective dead wood swung by the Yankees in a 2-0 loss to the A's in front of 38,090 at the Stadium.
"There's nights when you have to give the other guys on the mound credit,'' Vernon Wells said of A's righthander A.J. Griffin, who allowed six hits in seven innings.
Griffin, 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in his previous two starts, held the Yankees (17-11) to 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. Sean Doolittle pitched the eighth and picked up the first two outs in the ninth before Grant Balfour got his fourth save.
"He stayed out of the middle of the plate and made a lot of great pitches,'' Joe Girardi said of Griffin. "He was tough on our hitters tonight.''
Sabathia (4-3) allowed two runs and eight hits, including a homer by Adam Rosales on the game's first pitch, in six innings, his second-shortest outing of the season. He walked two, struck out six and lowered his ERA from 3.35 to 3.31, throwing a season-high 118 pitches. "I felt pretty good, I felt I had good stuff,'' Sabathia said. "They did a really good job of making that pitch count run up there.''
Lowrie's two-out single in the third led to what catcher Chris Stewart called a "miscommunication'' between Sabathia and Baker. With the count 2-and-2, Sabathia threw an 81-mph slider he thought was a strike. Baker called it a ball, and Lowrie then fouled off consecutive pitches and singled. Sabathia looked angry, but it was with himself, he said, making him surprised to hear Baker yell something at him.
"I can't be yelled at. I'm a grown man,'' he said. "I didn't say anything to him and he came back from behind the plate.''
Stewart quickly went to the mound and Girardi did, too, as Sabathia, in his own words, "lost it.'' But only momentarily.
"I just let the umpire know what was going on,'' Stewart said. "It ended there.''
Notes & quotes: David Robertson, who experienced what he called "discomfort" behind his left knee Wednesday, doesn't think the problem is anything "serious." To be safe, Girardi said he likely won't be ready until the Yankees' series against the Rockies, which starts Tuesday in Denver . . . Mark Teixeira (torn tendon sheath, right wrist) hit inside for a third straight day and will head to Tampa Sunday night to begin more intense rehab work that he hopes will have him playing in extended spring training games sooner rather than later. He responded "I hope so" when asked if he thinks a return by June 1 is possible . . . The Yankees promoted righthander Preston Claiborne and designated Cody Eppley for assignment.