Sabathia, Yankees make a stop in San Diego

CC Sabathia tries to put the brakes on a miserable stretch Friday when the New York Yankees open a three-game series with the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.

Sabathia is 0-3 in his last four starts and has allowed at least seven runs his last three times out. The former Cy Young Award winner was awful last Friday against Tampa Bay, as he surrendered seven runs and nine hits in five innings to fall to 9-9 to go along with a 4.65 ERA.

"It's just a number of things," Sabathia, who is 9-9 with a 4.65 ERA, said after his last start. "I feel like over my career, I've been able to avoid the big inning. Lately, I haven't been able to make the pitch."

Sabathia, though, is 3-0 in four starts versus the Padres with a 2.12 ERA.

While the Yankees wait on potential penalties for third baseman Alex Rodriguez due to his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, they will have Curtis Granderson back in the lineup on Friday.

Granderson missed the first month and a half of the season due to a fractured forearm, then returned for eight games before he broke his left pinkie May 24.

"I'm excited," said Granderson, who led the Yankees with 43 home runs last season. "I'm anxious to help our team get back to the postseason. With (Derek) Jeter back, and with (Alfonso) Soriano now in the lineup, (Robinson) Cano will be getting more help."

Granderson's return couldn't come at a better time for the Yankees, who split a two-game set with the Los Angeles Dodgers and have won just two of their last five games.

San Diego, meanwhile, had a four-game winning streak stopped on Wednesday with a 4-1 loss to Cincinnati. Yonder Alonso and Alexi Amarista each had two hits in the loss.

Eric Stults (8-10) threw 6 2/3 innings in a solid performance for the Padres, but was charged with all four runs -- only one of which was earned -- while permitting 10 hits.

"Stults matched (Homer Bailey) all the way through until the seventh, but Bailey was good," said Padres manager Bud Black.

Hoping for a similar effort on Friday will be righty Andrew Cashner, who is 7-5 with a 3.88 ERA. Cashner won his second straight start on Saturday in Arizona, as he allowed three runs and four hits in six innings. He did walk five batters, though.

The Yankees took two of three from the Padres the last time they were in San Diego back in 2002.