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One bad pitch hurts Sabathia, but he emerges with a win

CC Sabathia of the Yankees delivers a pitch

CC Sabathia of the Yankees delivers a pitch against the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium. (July 1, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

CC Sabathia was one out away from exiting yesterday's game with eight shutout innings and a two-run lead. Then Jorge Posada's passed ball put runners on second and third before a meaty fastball led to Russell Branyan's tying two-run single.

"I was kicking myself," Sabathia said about his mind-set after finishing the eighth inning. "Two outs, with the lead and so close to giving the ball to the best closer in the world - you've got to make a pitch."

Alex Rodriguez's two-run homer in the bottom of the inning salvaged Sabathia's outing, however, and allowed the lefthander to earn his 10th win of the season in the Yankees' 4-2 victory over the Mariners.

"He thought it was the ninth inning," said Sabathia, who hugged a confused Rodriguez when he came into the dugout. "He was waiting for everybody to be out there with pies. I was definitely excited, though."

Sabathia did not earn his 10th victory of 2009 until July 23, when he recorded his second straight win in a season-closing 11-2 streak that left him at 19-8. He has won his last six starts to go to 10-3, compiling a 2.00 ERA and allowing 30 hits in 45 innings in that span.

"CC's [been a stopper] since he's been here and that's just the type of pitcher that he is," manager Joe Girardi said.

"We didn't give him a lot of wiggle room, but I thought he shut Seattle down today," Girardi said. "It's what you expect from your ace. When you're on a losing streak, that's what aces do."

Sabathia is aware of his role as the leader of the pitching staff and entered the game wanting to erase any effects from the Yankees' two losses to the Mariners' Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez.

Rebounding from Wednesday's 7-0 loss to Hernandez, the Yankees lifted their record to 15-2 in games immediately following shutout losses since the start of the 2008 season.

Sabathia, who allowed five hits, two walks and one earned run, allowed Milton Bradley to get to third with one out in the second but got Josh Wilson to pop to second and struck out Ryan Langerhans looking to escape the jam.

"You never want to get swept and I felt like I didn't really have good command from the start," Sabathia said, "so I was trying to go out there and battle and keep us in the game, and we ended up getting a win."

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