BALTIMORE — CC Sabathia is known for his flat-line disposition, but his competitive fire does show up from time to time. Take his 114th and final pitch in last night’s 4-2 victory over the Orioles at Camden Yards. Leading by that score, Sabathia walked Ty Wiggington on a 3-and-2 pitch to load the bases with two outs. Up came Luke Scott, a power threat with 10 homers, and 1-for-3 on the night to that point.
Sabathia got ahead of Scott 1-and-2 and finished him off swinging for the third out. Sabathia punctuated the strikeout with multiple fist pumps, looking much more like Joba Chamberlain than the Sabathia most are used to seeing.
Chamberlain had an eventful eighth, allowing Matt Wieters’ double after Kevin Russo saved an extra-base hit with a diving catch of Adam Jones’ liner. Chamberlain recovered, striking out pinch hitter Corey Patterson and getting pinch hitter Scott Moore to ground out. Mariano Rivera pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 14th save.
“CC’s pretty consistent with his demeanor, which to me is a positive thing for players,” manager Joe Girardi said before the game.
“You don’t get too high, you don’t get too low because there’s so many ups and downs during the course of the season that if you get down, it can have a carryover effect, which you don’t want to have.”
Exceptions can be made, as Sabathia demonstrated in the seventh, maybe because of his recent struggles.
Sabathia, who had won only one of his previous six starts, allowed nine hits but just two runs in seven innings in improving to 6-3. He’s taken advantage of the quirk in the schedule that’s had him face the last-place Orioles every time the teams have played. Four of his six wins are against them. But it took a rally for him to get that fourth as the Yankees (37-22), who beat the Orioles (16-43) for the 21st time in their last 24 meetings, trailed 2-0 early.
Sabathia didn’t have a 1-2-3 inning until the fourth and was touched for single runs in the second and third innings.
In the second, Sabathia walked Jones with one out and watched him steal second. Wieters flew to center for the second out, but Jones went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Garrett Atkins’ single to right, making it 1-0.
Chris Tillman’s defense let him down in the sixth as second baseman Julio Lugo couldn’t handle Mark Teixeira’s grounder that hit the infield lip (Teixeira was credited with a hit). Teixeira advanced to third when leftfielder Scott mishandled Alex Rodriguez’s sharp single.
Cano followed with a chopper over the outstretched glove of first baseman Wigginton, who was playing in, which scored Teixeira to make it 2-2. With runners at first and third and none out, Jorge Posada grounded sharply to Wigginton. He cut down Cano at second, but shortstop Cesar Izturis’ return throw sailed high. The error sent Posada to second and A-Rod scored to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead.