Anaheim, CA – CC Sabathia lived up to his role as the New York Yankees' stopper with eight-plus stellar innings, and the Bronx Bombers held off a furious comeback bid from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to record a 6-5 win and salvage the finale of a three-game series.
Sabathia (7-5) yielded five hits while striking out six and taking a shutout into the ninth before allowing a pair of baserunners that eventually scored. The lefty ace improved to 10-2 in 14 starts following a Yankees loss since the beginning of the 2012 season, though he was forced to sweat out the victory after the Angels nearly erased a 6-0 deficit with five runs in their final at-bat.
Mariano Rivera was charged with one of those runs while surrendering three hits after entering with one out in the bottom of the ninth, but struck out Albert Pujols with the bases loaded to preserve the win in the retiring closer's final scheduled appearance at Angel Stadium.
"That was more exciting then we wanted," Yankees manager Joe Girardi remarked. "CC gave us a big performance. We had the greatest closer in the world out there with Pujols up, and he got him out."
The Yankees' offense also came alive to help snap the club's five-game skid, tied for its longest of the season. Travis Hafner broke out of an 0-for-23 slump with a three-run homer off Jered Weaver during a five-run third inning, Jayson Nix went 3-for-4 with an RBI single and Brett Gardner contributed two hits along with a run scored.
New York had managed just eight runs over its last four defeats, which included an 18-inning setback at Oakland on Thursday.
Weaver (1-3) lasted six innings, permitting seven hits and four walks while striking out six and allowing five runs.
Alberto Callaspo came through with a two-run single during the Angels' late rally, while Peter Bourjos finished 2-for-5 with an RBI in defeat.
Weaver escaped out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the top of the first, but momentarily became unglued during a third inning in which New York batted around and scored all of its five runs with two out.
The right-hander had Hafner down 0-2 with two on before hanging a slider that was belted over the center-field wall for a 3-0 Yankee lead. The homer started a sequence of four straight hits, with Vernon Wells following with a single before Lyle Overbay clubbed an RBI double to deep center and came around on Nix's base hit to left.
"It didn't start well in the bullpen," said Weaver of his performance. "My location was bad. It was really frustrating. Everything I tried to accomplish today didn't work out."
Weaver only gave up one more hit over the remainder of his stint, but his teammates still couldn't get the bats going against a stingy Sabathia, who scattered four singles and two walks while taking a 6-0 advantage into the final inning.
The Yankees tallied once more when Robinson Cano opened the eighth with a double against Jerome Williams and eventually scored on Wells' sacrifice fly. That extra run turned out to be crucial after an Anaheim offense that piled up 20 runs during the three-game win streak the team brought into the contest came alive in the bottom of the ninth.
Sabathia was removed after permitting a leadoff double to Mike Trout and a walk to Pujols, with Mark Trumbo greeting David Robertson with a single that finally got the Angels on the board. A one-out walk to pinch-hitter J.B. Shuck loaded the bases and prompted Yankees manager Joe Girardi to summon Rivera, who gave up a run-scoring groundout to Erick Aybar in front of Callaspo's clutch base hit that suddenly cut the deficit to 6-4.
Two more singles, including one from Bourjos that brought home Callaspo, made it a one-run game, and the tying run moved to third when Rivera walked Trout on five pitches to load the bases.
However, Pujols -- the 11th batter of the inning -- fanned on three pitches to end the game.
"I tried to make pitches and some of the balls found places to land," said Rivera. "Things happen quickly in baseball. I just tried to get Albert out as quickly as possible. The important thing is we won."
Rivera made his major league debut at Angel Stadium as a starting pitcher on May 23, 1995. He also recorded his first career save at the park on May 17, 1996 ... The Yankees upped their MLB-best record to 21-0 when scoring five or more runs this season ... The Angels lost for only the fourth time in Weaver's last 27 home starts ... Trout ended 2-for-3 with two walks and a run scored.