Published August 03, 2012
NEW YORK – Eric Wedge surely enjoyed managing CC Sabathia much more than fielding a lineup to face him.
Sabathia pitched a three-hitter and struck out 10, dominating the Mariners as usual while leading the New York Yankees to a 6-3 victory Friday night that stopped Seattle's seven-game winning streak.
Pitching in the sort of thick humidity that he's always enjoyed, the big lefty improved to 8-0 with a 1.20 ERA in his past eight starts against the Mariners.
"There weren't opportunities to be had, really," said Wedge, who managed Sabathia with Cleveland before getting the job in Seattle. "CC was outstanding — as good as I've seen him. He had everything working. I think he beats anybody tonight with what he was throwing out there."
Sabathia (11-3) rebounded from a rocky start against Boston with another overpowering performance against his favorite foe. The six-time All-Star and 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner is 12-4 in 20 career starts against the Mariners.
"He did a good job of keeping everybody off balance," Mariners centerfielder Casper Wells said. "He was throwing a lot of sliders. It seems like a tougher at-bat for the lefties. A lot of guys said they couldn't pick up the slider that well, and he changes speeds on the slider, too. I know I had a couple of bad swings on them."
Eric Chavez hit a two-run homer and Curtis Granderson had a two-run single off Kevin Millwood (4-9), sending the AL East leaders to their second consecutive win following a 3-9 slide.
Ichiro Suzuki started a rally against his former team, and the Yankees helped Sabathia improve to 4-0 in his last seven outings.
Going into the ninth, he had given up only Wells' solo homer in the fourth and Miguel Olivo's eighth-inning double. But he walked Brendan Ryan to start the inning before Dustin Ackley drove his eighth homer deep into the seats in right.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi came out for a quick chat with Sabathia, who retired the next three batters as the crowd of 45,872 chanted "CC! CC!" Sabathia threw 72 of 103 pitches for strikes in his 35th career complete game and second this season.
"You could see pretty early we weren't going to be able to give up many runs, if any, to have a chance," Millwood said.
Dating to May 2006, Sabathia has yielded no more than one earned run in nine of 11 starts against Seattle. The last time he faced the Mariners, he whiffed a career-high 14 on July 26 last season.
"I know today they came out really aggressive. They do have a lot of lefties in their lineup, and that tends to work in my advantage," Sabathia said.
Last in the AL West, the Mariners had won 13 of 17 and were trying for their first eight-game winning streak in five years. They began a nine-game trip that also takes them to Baltimore and Los Angeles.
"You have to recognize that our guys have been playing good baseball and they played good baseball tonight," Wedge said. "That guy was just real good. There's going to be games like that."
Still speedy at age 38, Suzuki opened the third by beating out a dribbler that was picked up by an off-balance Millwood between the mound and third base. Russell Martin doubled on an 0-2 pitch and both runners scored when Granderson singled on Millwood's next delivery.
The 37-year-old right-hander held the Yankees in check, however, and was one out from getting through the sixth inning unscathed when Chavez hit a high fly ball to right. It fell just beyond a leaping Eric Thames and hit the cement ledge right behind the fence, maybe 320 feet from home plate.
Thames said the ball was deflected by a fan's glove as he tried to reach over the wall and snare it.
"It's tough on home run balls that happen in parks like this because the fans are so close. They all reach out trying to catch the ball and you've just got to fight through it and hang with them," Thames said.
After returning to the dugout, Chavez and Mark Teixeira shared a laugh.
"He was talking today: 'I feel like I need a cheap one,'" Teixeira said with a smile. "He got it."
Chavez became the ninth Yankee with at least 10 homers this season — one shy of the club record set in 1998.
Robinson Cano and Raul Ibanez both added an RBI single in the seventh against the Seattle bullpen. Carter Capps faced three hitters in his major league debut, retiring only Derek Jeter on a sacrifice bunt.
NOTES: Mariners ace Felix Hernandez (9-5, 2.79 ERA) pitches Saturday against RHP Hiroki Kuroda (10-7, 3.28). Hernandez is 5-0 with a 1.60 ERA in his last nine starts. ... Seattle OF Michael Saunders was rested with some stiffness in his legs, Wedge said. Saunders is 1-for-11 with five strikeouts against Sabathia. ... Mariners reliever Charlie Furbush was scheduled to throw an inning during a rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma. The left-hander has been on the DL since July 18 with a strained triceps. ... Martin was behind the plate for New York after backup Chris Stewart caught Sabathia's previous 16 starts.