SAN DIEGO -- A season CC Sabathia described earlier in the week as "embarrassing" didn't improve much Friday night.
He again left the mound frustrated, this time in a 7-2 loss to the Padres in front of a sellout crowd of 44,124 at Petco Park.
Sabathia, who entered the game 9-9 with a 4.65 ERA, allowed five runs and 11 hits, tying a season worst, in 52/3 innings.
In his last four starts, Sabathia (9-10, 4.78) has allowed 27 runs (22 earned), 37 hits and 10 walks in 192/3 innings. He is 0-3 with a 10.07 ERA in that span. "We're battling and I'm not helping us,'' Sabathia said. "Not being able to help us is killing me."
The return of Curtis Granderson (0-for-4) didn't jump-start the offense, which went quietly against Andrew Cashner after a two-run second. Cashner (8-5, 3.80) allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings.
Sabathia found trouble in a 28-pitch first that had him fuming at umpire Mike DiMuro as he came off the mound.
Everth Cabrera led off with the first of his four hits, a single, and Chris Denorfia banged one off the end of his bat through the right side for a single. Chase Headley grounded into a forceout to put runners at the corners and Jesus Guzman walked to load the bases with one out.
With Yonder Alonso at the plate, Sabathia thought he had strike three on a 2-and-2 pitch, but DiMuro called it a ball. "That would have been a big strikeout if we get the call," Joe Girardi said. Sabathia walked Alonso with the next pitch to make it 1-0. Jedd Gyorko then smashed a grounder off Sabathia, and though Robinson Cano was able to get the out at first, Headley scored to make it 2-0.
In what has been a rarity this season, the Yankees came right back in the second. Ichiro Suzuki singled and Eduardo Nuñez, who got the start at third base, sliced an RBI double down the rightfield line to make it 2-1.
After Chris Stewart's groundout to second moved Nuñez to third, Sabathia sent a stinging grounder to third, where Headley made a diving stop to his left. He threw out Sabathia, but Nuñez scored to tie it at 2-2.
Brett Gardner helped preserve the tie in the third. With Headley on second after a one-out double, Alonso sent a two-out single to center. Gardner came up throwing and delivered a one-hopper to Stewart, who took an elbow to the side of the head from Headley as he made the tag for the inning's final out.
No standout defensive play could save Sabathia in the fourth, though. Logan Forsythe golfed a 3-and-2 changeup into the first row of seats in left for his fourth homer and a 3-2 lead.
After Sabathia failed to cover first on Cashner's one-hopper to first, allowing him to reach base with an infield hit, Cabrera lined an 0-and-1 slider into the gap in left-center for a triple. Cashner scored standing up for a 4-2 lead.
Girardi said of Sabathia's failure to cover first: "You have to find a way to get there."
"I don't care who you are or how good you are; at some point you're going to struggle,'' Derek Jeter said. "If you guys can think of a player who's played this game and never struggled, I'd like to see it. You've just got to work through it. CC will be fine. You just have to battle through it."
Is it possible that Sabathia is not healthy? Said Girardi, "If he wasn't healthy, I wouldn't run him out there."
Sabathia could not make it through the sixth, allowing Denorfia's two-out RBI single and departing with two runners in scoring position. After Preston Claiborne intentionally walked Headley, he struck out Guzman to end the inning.
Gyorko's solo homer off Joba Chamberlain in the seventh and Will Venable's homer off Adam Warren in the eighth made it 7-2.
Asked if he's going out with full confidence, Sabathia said: "It's hard to, but yeah, I'm pretty confident. I feel like it's going to turn. It just hasn't yet."
The Yankees remained 81/2 games behind the AL East-leading Red Sox and are four games out of the second wild-card spot. Said Girardi, "We need him to be CC if we're going to make a run."
Notes & quotes: Nuñez started at third, something the Yankees had said they didn't want to do because he struggled in the past when he attempted to play multiple positions. But with Derek Jeter back, Nuñez is going to get an opportunity at third and at short on off-days for Jeter. "We'll evaluate every day what we think, but we're going to give him a shot,'' Girardi said . . . Melky Mesa was sent to Triple-A to make room on the roster for Granderson.