The format for when interleague baseball is played has changed, but the New York Yankees are hoping CC Sabathia's success in it will not.
Sabathia, one of the winningest pitchers in interleague play, gets ready to face the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks for the first time in nearly 11 years Wednesday night.
Sabathia (2-1, 2.25 ERA) is tied for fourth all-time with 22 interleague victories, and he's gone 10-2 with a 2.79 ERA in 15 such starts for the Yankees.
The left-hander's only outing against Arizona (8-5) came with Cleveland on June 28, 2002, when he pitched 7 2-3 innings for an 8-2 victory.
Sabathia hasn't faced Paul Goldschmidt or A.J. Pollock, but he's got experience against other Diamondbacks regulars. Former Yankees third baseman Eric Chavez is 3 for 20 against Sabathia, Cliff Pennington is 1 for 14 with six strikeouts and Martin Prado is 3 for 12.
The Yankees ace is in search of a third straight victory after allowing two runs over eight innings with nine strikeouts in Friday's 5-2 win over Baltimore. Sabathia didn't issue a walk after he had seven over his first two outings.
Arizona is 2-3 in games started by opposing left-handers.
New York (7-5) won for the sixth time in seven games, 4-2 on Tuesday in the opener of this three-game set. Robinson Cano delivered the big blow with a three-run homer in the fourth inning to erase a 2-0 deficit.
Cano is 13 for 26 with four homers, seven runs scored and 11 RBIs in his last six games.
The star second baseman has never faced Arizona starter Wade Miley (2-0, 2.13), who is 2-1 with a 0.83 ERA in three interleague starts heading into his first against the Yankees.
Miley has been solid in winning both 2013 outings, giving up two runs over 6 2-3 innings last Wednesday in a 10-2 rout of Pittsburgh.
"I was getting ahead of guys early," he said. "I went to the slider a couple of times. Mainly it's about getting ahead and controlling at-bats."
Arizona suffered its first road loss in four games Tuesday despite two doubles from Pollock, who had numerous people in the stands supporting him who made the trip from his hometown of Hebron, Connecticut.
Pollock struck out leading off the ninth in his first at-bat against Mariano Rivera , who retired all three batters and has now converted 27 straight interleague save chances at home.
"He's every bit as good as people say," Pollock said. "But we'll get back tomorrow and hopefully we won't have to face him tomorrow."
Rivera, the final major leaguer allowed to wear No. 42, found it fitting to close out the game on a night honoring Jackie Robinson .
"That's what we try to do, not only today but every day," Rivera said. "It's special."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi gave catcher Chris Stewart his fourth start Tuesday. Francisco Cervelli , who is hitting .360 and has caught all three of Sabathia's outings, figures to be back behind the plate Wednesday.
Diamondbacks second baseman Aaron Hill will miss from four to six weeks because of a broken left hand. Prado started at second Tuesday.
|April 15, 2013||Aaron Hill||15-Day DL||Broken left hand|
|April 14, 2013||Aaron Hill||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore left hand|
|April 13, 2013||Jason Kubel||15-Day DL||Strained left quad|
|March 31, 2013||Didi Gregorius||15-Day DL||Right elbow strain|
|March 31, 2013||Didi Gregorius||15-Day DL||Right elbow strain|
|March 27, 2013||Willie Bloomquist||15-Day DL||Strained right intercostal|
|New York Yankees|
|April 12, 2013||Eduardo Nunez||Day-to-Day||Left game - right wrist contusion|
|March 26, 2013||Cesar Cabral||60-Day DL||Left elbow pain|
|March 22, 2013||Curtis Granderson||15-Day DL||Fractured right forearm|
|March 22, 2013||Derek Jeter||15-Day DL||Recovery from left ankle surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Phil Hughes||15-Day DL||Right upper back thoracic injury|
|March 22, 2013||Mark Teixeira||15-Day DL||Strained right wrist - out 8-10 weeks|
NEW YORK (AP) -- Travis Hafner 's big hit didn't surprise CC Sabathia.
Not one bit.
Hafner had a pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning to make a winner of Sabathia, who settled down after a shaky start and helped the New York Yankees beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-3 Wednesday night.
"I've seen Haf when he's locked in, so I expect him to do a lot more than he has," a grinning Sabathia said about his longtime teammate in Cleveland.
Hafner batted for Ben Francisco with two outs in the eighth. He sent the first pitch he saw from reliever David Hernandez (0-1) into the stands in right-center for his fourth home run. It was the fourth career pinch-hit homer for Hafner, and his first since joining the Yankees in the offseason.
"I'm having a lot of fun here," the player known as "Pronk" said. "I've been swinging the bat pretty well."
The rest of the Yankees have been on a pretty good run, too.
Brett Gardner had a tying, two-run single off reliever Tony Sipp in the seventh for New York. Stymied by Wade Miley for six innings, the Yankees broke through and won for the seventh time in eight games after a 1-4 start.
"With two outs and bases loaded it's kind of all on you," Gardner said. "It felt good to come through."
Sipp had the same feeling going into the at-bat against Gardner. Different result.
"I thought Wade pitched enough to get a win right there. Disappointing," Sipp said. "My job is to come in and get a batter out, and I didn't do my job."
Sabathia (3-1) gave up an opposite-field, two-run homer to Paul Goldschmidt in the first - one of three hits in the opening inning - then only three more hits and a sacrifice fly to A.J. Pollock through the eighth.
Sabathia struck out six and walked one in his third straight win after struggling on opening day. It was his second straight outing of eight innings.
Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth for his fourth save, closing out a game that took just 2 hours, 28 minutes. Injured for most of last season, Rivera posted his first back-to-back saves since April 10-11, 2012.
The Yankees rallied against Arizona for the second straight night. They trailed 2-0 Tuesday.
New York failed to get a runner to second base against Miley until Vernon Wells doubled with two outs in the sixth.
"He's a good looking pitcher," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He gets you to swing at that ball that's just above the waist and looks really tempting."
Francisco, the only member of New York's lineup to face the left-hander before Wednesday, singled with one out in the seventh to start the tying rally.
After Francisco Cervelli struck out, Brennan Boesch doubled and Eduardo Nunez walked to load the bases. Calm and working quickly early, Miley took the throw back after the walk and stomped around the mound. He then walked Jayson Nix to make it 3-1 with several high fastballs.
Miley snatched the ball and stalked around the mound some more before manager Kirk Gibson called for Tony Sipp . Miley bit down hard on a towel in the dugout while Sipped warmed up.
"He was great," Gibson said of Miley. "His pitch count was low. He just didn't throw the ball where he wanted to when he needed to in the seventh inning."
Gardner then slapped a two-run, opposite-field single to left to make it 3-all. The runners advanced to second and third on the offline throw home and side-armer Brad Ziegler relieved and got Wells to ground out.
The Diamondbacks got off to a good start against Sabathia. Pollock doubled leading off and Goldschmidt homered. They put two more on base with one out, but Sabathia struck out Alfredo Marte and got Gerardo Parra to fly out.
"I was all over the place and got a changeup up," Sabathia said of the pitch to Goldschmidt.
The Diamondbacks added a run in the fifth. Playing second base for the injured Aaron Hill , Josh Wilson hit a drive to right-center and Gardner made a long run before attempting an awkward diving catch. But the ball fell out of Gardner's big glove before he hit the warning track hard and Wilson made it to third base with a triple. He scored with a headfirst slide on Pollock's sacrifice fly to right field.
Francisco's one-out single in the seventh was his first hit with the Yankees. He was 0 for 10 with a walk and hit by pitch.
Martin Prado , who's played four positions so far this season, made two sharp plays at third to help Miley early.
NOTES: Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira and Cano received their 2012 Gold Gloves before the game. ... Arizona LHP Patrick Corbin (2-0), from the Syracuse area in upstate New York, starts Thursday against RHP Phil Hughes (0-2). ... Arizona dropped to 1-7 in the Bronx during the regular season.