CC: “I just feel like I can’t stop the bleeding”

CC SabathiaIN TWO PARAGRAPHS: CC Sabathia was dynamite for five innings, showing off what Joe Girardi said was his best stuff of the year. His command came unraveled quickly in a three-run sixth inning, highlighted by Ben Zobrist’s game-tying, two-run double up the gap in left-center field.

Evan Longoria followed with an RBI single and later homered off Preston Claiborne, leading the Rays to a 4-2 victory over the Yankees at Tropicana Field. Despite his dominance through five innings, Sabathia said that he just tried to get too fine in the sixth, and he paid the price with a loss.

MANAGER’S TAKE:  “You look at the five innings, it’s probably the best five innings he’s thrown all year in a group like that. You do take a positive out of that, but we need to win games. That’s the frustrating part.” – Girardi.

QUOTES…

Sabathia: “One big inning. Just, I feel like I can’t stop the bleeding. If something gets going, it’s hard for me to make a pitch. I was able to get it back tonight, but it has just been tough. … I just felt pretty good [early]. And I have been mentally, in the bullpens and on the sides and stuff I’ve been throwing pretty well. I’ve just got to take that into the game and put a whole game together.”

Austin Romine: “I was feeling really good. That’s the best I’ve seen him all year long. He just couldn’t make those pitches when he needed to, and it just got away from him a little bit. I was more surprised that after that, he got back to what he was doing. Little late I guess, but he bounced back really quick. He didn’t let it beat him. He got back to throwing strikes and he kept us in the ball game, he really did.”

Robinson Cano: “It’s difficult. We know what kind of pitcher he is, but sometimes it’s part of the game. We’ve got to forget about this game and be ready to play tomorrow.”

Evan Longoria: “[Sabathia] was a lot better today. You can’t take anything away from him even when he isn’t throwing as hard as he was tonight. He’s a true pitcher. He knows how to get guys out. His stuff was much better today. We saw him from 93-95 instead of 90-92. His slider was a lot sharper. We didn’t take a whole lot of good swings off him. We had that sixth inning with opportunities we cashed in but outside of that, he was pretty good.”

NOTES…

Girardi hadn’t received an update on Derek Jeter after his game at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but in this case, it seems like no news is good news. The plan is still for Jeter to rejoin the Yankees on Monday in Toronto.

Alfonso Soriano showboated on his deep fly ball to left field in the sixth against Price, even flipping his bat and breaking into a trot, but Girardi didn’t seem to have much of a problem with it. The ball was caught by Sean Rodriguez, but if it hadn’t, Girardi said that Soriano had “better be” on second base.

It sure feels like the Rays are Sabathia’s kryptonite. Sabathia fell to 4-12 with a 4.46 ERA in 23 starts against Tampa Bay since signing with the Yankees before the 2009 season. He’s 3-8 with a 4.38 ERA at Tropicana Field, and that .273 winning percentage is his lowest of any current big league park.

ON DECK

The Yankees have lost two straight after traveling to Florida with a five-game winning streak intact. They’ll look to avoid the sweep on Sunday, sending Ivan Nova (7-4, 3.17) to the mound against Alex Cobb (8-2, 2.85). First pitch is set for 1:40 p.m. under the dome at the Trop. The Rays have won eight of 10. New York has lost 16 of its last 21 games here in St. Petersburg.

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