CC Sabathia tries to deliver the New York Yankees a series win on Wednesday when they play the rubber match of their three-game set with the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
Sabathia was terrific against the Oakland Athletics on Friday, but did not factor in the decision of his team's 2-1 extra-inning win, despite scattering three hits and striking out 11 over eight scoreless innings.
Still, though, he is 0-3 in his last five starts and is 13-6 on the year with a 3.47 ERA.
"I know it's been a season where it hasn't been vintage CC," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said after his last outing, "but here's a guy with an ERA under 3.50, and we're not calling it vintage CC. That's how good he is. Tonight might have been the best game he's pitched all year."
Sabathia beat the Twins the last time he faced them and is 15-8 in 31 starts against them with a 3.00 ERA. In fact, he is 9-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his last 10 outings versus the Twins
New York wasted a golden opportunity to stretch its lead atop the American League East on Tuesday, as it blew a three-run lead and fell to the Twins, 5-4. Denard Span's two-run double during a four-run seventh inning propelled Minnesota to its third win in four games.
"Our guys are rising to the occasion," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "If you can't get up for (the Yankees), you can't get up for anything."
Making the loss even worse for New York was the fact that Baltimore lost to Toronto. The Yankees still hold a 1 1/2-game lead on the Orioles for first place in the division.
"You had an opportunity," Girardi said. "You can look at it the other way, too. So we have to come out and win the series tomorrow."
Robinson Cano had three hits and Derek Jeter extended his hitting streak to 19 games in the loss, New York's second in three games. Nick Swisher also homered for the third straight game.
Minnesota will pin its hopes Wednesday on righty Samuel Deduno, who is 6-4 with a 3.84 ERA. Deduno lost for the fourth time in six starts on Sept.16 against the Chicago White Sox, allowing four runs and five walks in four innings.
"My mechanics were OK, but I was just trying to do too much," Deduno said. "Nothing was working. But sometimes that's just part of the game."
He has never faced the Yankees.
New York has won 19 of its last 26 regular season meetings with the Twins since the start 2009 campaign, but it is just 3-3 against them this season.