CC Sabathia won his eighth straight game against the Mariners, pitching all of a 6-3 victory.
NEW YORK — The red-hot Mariners discovered their cooling mechanism on Friday: Yankees ace CC Sabathia.
The way the big lefty pitched on Friday, in fact, he might have frozen the 1927 Bronx Bombers.
That was the message that Eric Wedge delivered to his team after Sabathia dominated Seattle in a 6-3 victory, snapping the Mariners’ seven-game winning streak.
Wedge told his players after the game not to be overly discouraged about this one.
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“CC was outstanding, as good as I’ve seen him,” said Wedge, who managed Sabathia during a Cy Young season in Cleveland. “He had everything working. I think he beats anybody tonight with what he was throwing out there. We park that, put that away and come out here ready to win a ballgame tomorrow.”
Sabathia fired a complete-game three-hitter, striking out 10. All of the Mariners’ runs came via the long ball: a solo homer by Casper Wells in the fourth and a two-run blast by Dustin Ackley in the ninth. They had just two other base runners — a Miguel Olivo double in the eighth, and a Brendan Ryan walk in the ninth that proceeded Ackley’s homer.
“His ball is hard to pick up,” Ackley said. “He locates well, he mixes it up well. Right when you think you’re getting a fastball, you’re getting a slider.”
Even after hitting his homer on a first-pitch changeup, Wells showed his respect for Sabathia by high-tailing it around the bases.
“I kind of tried to get around the bases as quickly as possible, keep the momentum going,” he said. “Plus, I saw CC staring at me out of the corner of my eye. I wanted to make sure I ran, because he’s a big human being. I don’t want to mess with him.”
The Yankees were aided by a home run that nearly wasn’t. In fact, credit a fan with messing up Mariners right fielder Eric Thames enough to keep him from grabbing Eric Chavez’s drive that turned into a two-run homer off Kevin Millwood in the sixth. It stretched the Yankees’ lead from 2-1 to 4-1.
Thames leapt for the ball but got tangled up with a fan who reached for it with his glove.
“I knew it was going to be right at the wall,” he said. “I felt I had a good bead on it, I jumped, and it was weird, it happened so fast. I saw the gloves kind of going over me and I felt it hit the wall. Then I saw the replay, and a fan’s glove was right over me, and it deflected. It hit his (glove), then it hit mine.”
Would Thames have caught it? “For sure. It’s tough on home-run balls like that in parks like this because the fans are so close.” Added Wells: “I guess that’s what fans are supposed to do, try to knock it out of his glove. That’s what it looked like to me.”
Hard-throwing rookie Carter Capps, who had remained unused through his first two major-league games, made his debut in the seventh. The 21-year-old Capps didn’t disappoint with his velocity, throwing 100 mph on his first career pitch, to Russell Martin. But three pitches later, Martin turned around a 101-mph heater and singled to center.
Capps, a third-round draft pick in 2011 who began this season in Class AA, then walked Curtis Granderson. After Derek Jeter dropped a sacrifice bunt (on a 100 mph fastball on the hands, no easy task), left-hander Oliver Perez replaced Capps.
Perez, who struggled during his years in New York with the Mets, was greeted with an RBI single by Cano. He got Mark Teixeira to pop up, but another lefty, Raul Ibanez, got another RBI single. Both runs were charged to Capps.
“It was a good time to get him in there and get that first one out of the way,” Wedge said. “Obviously you see what kind of stuff he has. But there’s only one first time and he got it out of the way, and he got it out of the way here at Yankee Stadium.”
Capps called it “a great experience, obviously. I got to face the Yankees, so that was pretty amazing. A bunch of good hitters, so you’ve just got to pound the zone. I only faced three batters and I had a walk, so I wasn’t pounding the zone like I should have been. I didn’t get the results I wanted.”
Sabathia has now won eight consecutive starts against the Mariners, with a 1.20 earned-run average over that stretch. In his most recent outing against them, on July 26, 2011 at Yankee Stadium, he struck out a career-high 14 (in seven innings) and lost a perfect game in the seventh.
Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or firstname.lastname@example.org