On what had a chance to be a special night for the New York Yankees ' C.C. Sabathia last week instead turned into a disappointing performance.
A matchup against the Minnesota Twins could help lift his spirits.
Sabathia again goes for career victory No. 200 as he seeks a ninth win in a row over the Twins on Wednesday night at Target Field.
Sabathia (8-6, 4.15 ERA) carried a no-hitter and a three-run lead into the sixth inning Friday at Baltimore before coming undone in a 4-3 defeat. He allowed all four runs in seven innings, dropping to 1-4 with a 5.76 ERA in his last seven road starts.
"It was just everything from the night," he said. "Not being able to hold the lead, and then the ultimate of giving up the lead and giving up the game. It's frustrating. I try not to show my emotions too much, but it happens."
The left-hander has surrendered at least four runs in six of his last eight outings, a stretch during which he's gone 4-3 with a 5.15 ERA.
"I feel like I'm wasting starts," he told MLB's official website. "I'm feeling great and throwing the ball good. I've just not been able to put together a whole start. It's just frustrating."
Sabathia would appear to have a good chance to get back on track against a Twins team he's baffled in recent years. The former Cy Young Award winner has gone 8-0 with a 1.79 ERA in his last nine matchups with Minnesota (36-44), having his way with Justin Morneau (6 for 43), Joe Mauer (6 for 35) and Ryan Doumit (3 for 17). Sabathia has walked six and struck out 46 in his last 53 1-3 innings versus the Twins.
The Yankees (44-39) also have been dominating them, winning 7-3 on Tuesday for their 29th victory in the past 36 meetings. That stretch includes two playoff sweeps, part of New York's 40-13 record versus Minnesota since the start of 2007.
Robinson Cano delivered a three-run shot - his fourth homer in three days - after going deep twice in Monday's 10-4 series-opening win. The All-Star second baseman has recorded five consecutive multihit efforts, going 12 for 21 with eight RBIs and eight runs scored.
Cano has hit .383 with 14 RBIs over his last 15 regular-season games in Minnesota, which has dropped three straight and eight of 11.
The Twins try to regroup behind P.J. Walters (2-4, 6.03), who is 0-4 in five starts after winning his first two following his call-up from the minors in late May. The right-hander has been especially bad in the last three, losing each while allowing 16 runs, 16 hits and nine walks in nine innings.
"We all have games where we struggle, everybody in the league has them," said Walters, who has never faced the Yankees. "In my eyes, it's unacceptable. To the team I'm sure it is, too. I expect to pitch better ... but obviously I've got some things I need to work on and get better at right now."
Mauer, who snapped an 0-for-18 slump with an RBI single in the third inning Tuesday, is hitting .381 in his last 11 games against the Yankees.
The Twins may be counting on him even more after placing Josh Willingham on the disabled list with a medial meniscus tear and bone bruise in his left knee. Willingham leads the team with 10 homers.
|New York Yankees|
|July 02, 2013||Hiroki Kuroda||Day-to-Day||Sore left hip flexor|
|June 16, 2013||Mark Teixeira||15-Day DL||Right wrist surgery - out for season|
|June 15, 2013||Mark Teixeira||Day-to-Day||Wrist|
|June 14, 2013||Kevin Youkilis||15-Day DL||Lumbar spine strain|
|June 01, 2013||Chris Stewart||Day-to-Day||Left game - dehydration|
|May 25, 2013||Curtis Granderson||15-Day DL||Broken left pinkie finger|
|July 01, 2013||Josh Willingham||15-Day DL||Medial meniscus tear, left knee|
|July 01, 2013||Josh Willingham||Day-to-Day||Left knee soreness|
|June 19, 2013||Mike Pelfrey||15-Day DL||Back strain|
|June 11, 2013||Jared Burton||Day-to-Day||Groin injury|
|June 10, 2013||Aaron Hicks||15-Day DL||Left hamstring strain|
|June 10, 2013||Aaron Hicks||15-Day DL||Left hamstring strain|
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- CC Sabathia had to work hard for this milestone, just like most of his victories in this challenging season for the New York Yankees .
To the Minnesota Twins , well, he was the same overpowering, nearly unbeatable pitcher.
Sabathia won his 200th career game to stretch his winning streak over Minnesota to nearly six years, and Robinson Cano hit a tying two-run double to spark the Yankees to a 3-2 victory over the Twins on Wednesday night.
The significance of Sabathia's accomplishment at age 32 was lost, at least publicly, on the burly left-hander.
"It's hard not to be aware of it, but I don't know if it means anything right now," Sabathia said. "I'll be ready in five days to go again and just try to get No. 201."
Cano fueled the three-run sixth against Twins starter PJ Walters (2-5), who was pitching for his job. Trevor Plouffe homered against Sabathia (9-6), but he finished seven innings with seven hits and three walks while striking out nine. The Yankees are missing almost all of their stars, and Sabathia's fastball isn't in the upper 90s anymore. The big man can still throw, though.
"I think it's still a work in progress. I think you're always trying to get better and trying to reinvent yourself," Sabathia said. "I've still got some work to do, but hopefully I can just keep getting better."
Sabathia is 11-0 with a 2.01 ERA in his last 12 starts against the Twins. He threw a season-high 121 pitches.
"He did really grind this one out," manager Joe Girardi said. "It's just his will. He never gets down on himself. He always believes that he can make the pitch, and eventually he does it."
The Twins were on their way to beating Sabathia for the first time since July 29, 2007, the year he won the AL Cy Young award. Brian Dozier drew a leadoff walk in the third and scored on Joe Mauer 's double, his first extra-base hit in nine games.
Shortstop Luis Cruz , signed before the game as a replacement for Jayson Nix - the latest Yankee to hit the disabled list - was charged with an error for throwing over first baseman Lyle Overbay 's head to give the Twins runners at the corners with no outs.
But Sabathia bore down after that, striking out Justin Morneau , retiring Plouffe on a fly out and striking out Oswaldo Arcia to finish the inning.
With two outs in the fifth, Plouffe's drive escaped the outstretched glove of center fielder Brett Gardner and bounced high off the top of the wall onto the black batter-eye backing behind it for a 2-0 lead. That was all the Twins could get, though.
"With a guy like CC you have to score those runs, especially against the Yankees," Plouffe said.
Mariano Rivera pitched a scoreless ninth to notch his 28th save in 29 tries in his farewell season.
Cano has had at least two hits in each of the first six games of this road trip, batting 14 for 24 with 10 RBIs and four home runs. His streak of going deep ended at three straight games, but the four-time All-Star second baseman didn't stop lifting this lagging, injury-ravaged lineup once again. Aaron Hicks made a fully extended catch of Cano's line drive to center field in the eighth inning, the only time the Twins got him out on the night.
After giving the Twins solid performances in his first four starts, Walters fell out of whack, lasting a total of nine innings over his previous three turns while allowing 16 hits, 16 runs and nine walks.
The right-hander breezed twice through the batting order, but the leadoff walk in the sixth to Gardner was foreboding. Ichiro Suzuki followed with a double, and then came Cano's crushing line drive down the right-field line off a 1-2 slider that caught too much of the plate.
"I just hung the breaking ball. It's a pitch I should've bounced," Walters said.
With first base open, the Twins could've intentionally walked Cano. He paused when asked why he thinks teams have been pitching to him despite the tear he's on.
"The only way you can look at it is it's a team that's not in the race. ... They're taking their chances: `All right, let's pitch to him,"' Cano said.
Caleb Thielbar bailed the Twins out, limiting the damage to Overbay's go-ahead sacrifice fly after inheriting a no-out, runners-at-the-corners situation. But the lead was lost.
Walters allowed four hits and three walks while striking out three.
NOTES: Twins LF Josh Willingham had arthroscopic surgery in the morning to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. ... Yankees RH Hiroki Kuroda , out of the rotation temporarily because of a left hip flexor problem, will see the team doctor on Friday. Girardi declined to speculate on when Kuroda, who has been the team's best starter, will take his next turn. ... The Yankees will send RH David Phelps (5-5, 4.95 ERA to the mound in search of the sweep in the finale on Thursday afternoon. Rookie RH Kyle Gibson (1-0, 3.00) will make his second start for the Twins after winning his major league debut last weekend with six strong innings.
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