Sabathia tries to get on track in return to Milwaukee

( - CC Sabathia was nearly unbeatable during his short stint with the Milwaukee Brewers back in 2008 and he later cashed in by signing a monster deal with the New York Yankees.

Sabathia, though, is struggling ahead of a return to Miller Park and will try to get on track Saturday night as the Yankees resume a three-game set with the Brewers.

After beginning his career with the Cleveland Indians, Sabathia was dealt to the Brewers on July 7, 2008 as Milwaukee made a push for a playoff spot. The left-hander did his part, going 11-2 with a 1.65 earned run average in 17 starts with the Brewers, including a perfect 6-0 mark and 1.78 ERA at Miller Park while a member of Milwaukee.

Sabathia then signed with the Yankees and won at least 19 games in his first three seasons with the club, but has declined a bit and comes into this outing 3-4 with a 5.75 earned run average in seven starts this year.

The 33-year-old has dropped consecutive starts and allowed at least four runs five times on the season. He yielded five runs on 10 hits and a walk over a season-low 3 2/3 innings versus Tampa Bay on Sunday, losing a 5-1 decision.

"I just didn't have the stuff," Sabathia said. "My shoulder was flying up and I couldn't get a feel for my changeup. (My) fastball was all over the place. It's frustrating, not being able to put us in a good position to win."

Sabathia is 1-1 with a 3.05 ERA in three starts against the Brewers, picking up a victory over them in the Bronx on June 30, 2011.

Milwaukee will counter with right-hander Kyle Lohse, who has not lost since his season debut on April 1. He followed up that setback with four straight wins, but has not factored into the outcome of his last two starts.

Lohse faced the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday last time out and yielded two runs on eight hits and a walk over 6 1/3 innings. The Brewers lost 4-3 in extra innings.

"(Lohse) battled with his command some," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. "He keeps us in ballgames. He gives us a chance, he comes out with the lead and with our bullpen we feel really good about that. We've been pitching great, we just made a couple mistakes today in the bullpen."

The 35-year-old has a 2.72 ERA on the season and is 1-3 versus the Yankees lifetime with a 5.46 ERA in five meetings.

New York rode another solid start by Masahiro Tanaka and a three-run homer off the bat of Yangervis Solarte to a 5-3 victory in Friday's opener. Tanaka scattered a pair of runs and seven hits over 6 1/3 innings to move to 5-0 on the season.

The prized offseason acquisition has now won 34 consecutive regular-season decisions going back to his tenure with the Rakuten Golden Eagles in his native Japan.

Solarte's tie-breaking shot off Yovani Gallardo in the fourth inning and Brian Roberts' RBI double also helped stake the Yankees to a third straight win following a 1-5 stretch.

"Gallardo was extremely tough on us the first time through the lineup," Yankees manager Joe Girardi remarked. "Once our guys saw him a little bit, we got some base hits on him and we were able to get four runs. But the big hit was Solarte's."

Milwaukee, meanwhile, has now dropped three in a row and seven of nine since an MLB-best 20-7 start to the season.

Gallardo struck out seven over 5 2/3 innings of work, but permitted four runs and walked three.

"This is as good a stuff as I've seen from him all season," Roenicke said of his starter. 'His fastball was outstanding, it's too bad the results weren't there."

Mark Reynolds had a solo homer for Milwaukee, while Carlos Gomez went 2-for-3 with a run scored in the loss.

This is the Yankees' first trip to Miller Park since 2005, when they lost two out of three to the Brewers.