Published July 15, 2011
TORONTO – CC Sabathia ensured the New York Yankees didn't have to wait another day for their next win.
Sabathia won his seventh straight start to become the first 14-game winner in the majors, Brett Gardner had three hits and the Yankees beat Toronto 4-1 on Saturday, ending the Blue Jays' five-game winning streak.
"To not win for a week, and that's what it felt like because we hadn't played for a few days, you need a win," manager Joe Girardi said. "CC went out and got one for us."
The Yankees got back in the win column after losing their first two games following the All-Star break. Their last victory was Sabathia's most recent start, July 10 against Tampa, the day before the break.
"He's great, he is every time," Gardner said of Sabathia. "You guys keep asking me how he is and it seems like every time I tell you the same thing: He's just dominant."
Sabathia (14-4) allowed one run and three hits in eight innings. He walked three and struck out eight.
Derek Jeter got two hits and matched Al Kaline for 26th place on baseball's career list. Jeter singled in the ninth for hit No. 3,007.
Gardner doubled in the second, hustled for a double and scored in the fourth, then stole second after reaching on a bunt single in the sixth.
Sabathia has struck out 59 and posted an ERA of 1.68 over his seven-start winning streak. The left-hander has won 11 of his past 12 outings, his only defeat in that span being a June 9 home loss to Boston.
"His slider was good today," Girardi said. "I thought all his stuff was good. His velocity was great, his changeup was very good. He just knows how to pitch."
New York's staff ace set down 12 of 13 at one stretch and allowed just one extra-base hit, John McDonald's double to left in the eighth.
"CC was very good," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "There were not a lot of opportunities to take advantage of."
After accusations in the first game of the series that Toronto was stealing signs, catcher Russell Martin gave pitcher Freddy Garcia multiple signs Friday. But Sabathia and batterymate Francisco Cervelli didn't bother with that.
"Me and Cervi talked about it before the game and just used a different set than we normally use with a runner on second. I don't really think it's something that you can really do anything about. You just go out and try to pitch," Sabathia said.
Mariano Rivera pitched around a pair of singles to finish in the ninth for his 23rd save in 27 chances. New York got some much-needed rest for its bullpen, which had worked 10 1-3 innings of relief in the previous two games as Toronto outscored the Yankees 23-8.
Sabathia's career-long streak of 23 2-3 scoreless innings came to an early end when Toronto scratched out a run in the first. Rajai Davis led off with a walk and stole second before coming home on Yunel Escobar's single up the middle.
"My command was off early," Sabathia said. "I just stuck with it, tried to be aggressive and I ended up getting better as the game went on."
The Yankees gave Sabathia a lead he would not relinquish with a two-run second against left-hander Ricky Romero (7-9). Nick Swisher doubled and scored on a single, Gardner doubled and Eduardo Nunez followed with an RBI groundout.
New York added one more in each of the third and fourth innings.
Starting as the designated hitter, Curtis Granderson walked to open the third and went to third on a one-out single by Robinson Cano. After Romero's pitch to Jones bounced away from catcher J.P. Arencibia, Cano made a move toward second. When Arencibia threw to Aaron Hill at second, Granderson broke for the plate, scoring easily when Hill's errant throw sailed to the backstop.
Gardner doubled to begin the fourth, moved up on Nunez's sacrifice bunt and scored on a two-out single by Jeter.
For Jeter, the RBI was his 1,160th, tying him with Tony Lazzeri for eighth place on the Yankees' all-time list.
Romero lost his second straight start and has now failed to pitch into the seventh in three straight games after doing so in each of his previous nine outings.
"I didn't really get comfortable and was a little wild with my fastball," Romero said.
Romero allowed four runs, three earned, on six hits in five innings. He walked three and struck out seven.
NOTES: Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista (right ankle) missed his second straight game after injuring himself on a slide Thursday. Bautista, who leads the majors with 31 home runs, is still wearing a walking boot but said swelling in the ankle has gone down and that he can put more weight on it. ... New York RHP Rafael Soriano (elbow) threw at the Yankees' spring training complex in Florida but RHP Mark Prior (groin) was scratched from his appearance with the Gulf Coast Yankees. ... Attendance was 45,606, Toronto's biggest crowd since opening day (47,984). ... Yankees RHP Phil Hughes (0-2) faces Blue Jays RHP Carlos Villanueva (5-1) in Sunday's series finale.