It's probably not a huge shock that the Yankees have won seven of their past eight games. What may come as a bit of a surprise is that the lone loss in that span was charged to ace CC Sabathia.
New York's ace aims to rebound from a subpar outing tonight and keep the Yankees in first place in the second of three straight contests with the Atlanta Braves.
Sabathia had a two-game winning streak snapped with a loss to David Price and the Rays on Thursday. The left-hander was charged with a season high-tying five runs over seven innings, though only three were earned. He was touched for seven hits and a walk while striking out a season-best 12 batters in a 7-3 decision.
"It's a little frustrating not being able to pick up the guys," admitted Sabathia, who did not allow a hit to the final 12 batters he faced and is 7-3 with a 3.69 earned run average in 12 starts this season.
The 31-year-old has won eight of his past 10 interleague decisions, going 8-2 with a 2.76 ERA in 12 outings over that span. He will face the Braves for the first time as a Yankee and for the first time since 2008 while with the Brewers. Sabathia is 1-1 with a 3.24 ERA in two career starts against Milwaukee.
The Yankees remained red-hot with last night's 3-0 victory, their fourth in a row and 14th in 18 games. That has pushed New York to a season-high 10 games over .500 at 35-25 and moved the club into a tie with the Rays atop the American League East. It marks the first time that the Yankees have held at least a share of first place since April 24.
"We've been playing some great ball," said Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher, who saved a potential two-run homer with a leaping grab at the wall. "We're having a blast. We're getting great pitching, getting timely hitting, and like I said we're just having a blast right now.
"I think we're starting to warm up a little bit now. We're just trying to get all the guys rocking and rolling at the same time and I feel like with this lineup, when that happens, it's going to be a lot of fun."
Raul Ibanez homered and Alex Rodriguez doubled and scored twice in last night's win. Robinson Cano added two hits and an RBI and Ivan Nova won his eighth game of the season with seven innings of five-hit ball.
New York improved to 7-2 all-time at Turner Field and tagged Braves starter Randall Delgado for three runs over five innings. Delgado yielded five hits and issued a career-worst six walks in Atlanta's second straight setback following a six-game win streak.
The Braves were shut out for the fifth time this season, though Brian McCann had a potential hit taken away by Swisher's leaping catch at the wall in the fourth.
"Close game all night," said Braves reliever Cory Gearrin, who pitched the sixth and seventh. "The ball takes a hop one way or the other, we've got a tie game.
"[McCann] obviously got into that ball tonight. The wind was blowing. A hair more, that's a two-run homer."
Mike Minor draws the start tonight for Atlanta after picking up his first victory in eight starts on Thursday in Miami.
The 24-year-old southpaw halted a three-game losing streak with his first win since April 19, holding the Marlins to a run over five innings on four hits and five walks. He improved to 3-4 with a 6.57 ERA in 11 starts this season.
Minor will face the Yankees for the first time.
The Braves and Yankees are meeting for the first time since New York won two of three in Atlanta back in 2009.