NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE, NEW YORK
After Jacoby Ellsbury looped a soft single to center field to spoil C.C. Sabathia’s bid for a no-hitter with two outs in the sixth inning, the baseball was returned to Sabathia. He stared at the ball, rolled it around in his left hand, called time out and flipped it out of play.
Sabathia did not want that smudged ball anymore, not after he had allowed a hit with it. So Sabathia took a new ball and continued doing what he had been doing, overpowering the Red Sox in a 5-0 victory on Saturday.
Less than 16 hours after the teams played 15 draining innings, Sabathia unleashed the first pitch for more baseball. Sabathia, the durable left-hander with the baggy pants, was the perfect man to have on the mound. The fatigued Yankees needed Sabathia to make the game his, which is exactly what he did in allowing two hits in seven-and-two-thirds innings while striking out nine.
The day started with David Ortiz saying in a news conference that he never used or bought steroids, although he admitted he was “careless” with his use of supplements. Since the New York Times reported last week that Ortiz was on a list of players who had tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in 2003, he said it “has been a nightmare.” The Red Sox have wheezed along with Ortiz, losing five games in a row.
The Red Sox have lost the first three games of this series at Yankee stadium to tumble five-and-a-half games behind the Yankees.
Sabathia suppressed the Red Sox, who are weary and wounded and must be wondering about the postseason. The Red Sox put two runners on in the seventh, but Sabathia struck out Ortiz and induced Mike Lowell to ground into a double play. Sabathia screamed and pumped his fist after Derek Jeter leaped over a sliding Kevin Youkilis to complete the play.
It took two days, but Boston responded to Mark Melancon’s plunking of Dustin Pedroia on Thursday. Ramon Ramirez hit Alex Rodriguez in the left elbow in the seventh and was ejected from the game.
Mark Teixeira had a two-out single off Clay Buchholz in the third to drive in the first run. Jose Molina added a sacrifice fly in the sixth, Nick Swisher walked with the bases loaded in the seventh, and Jeter hit a two-run homer in the eighth. The Red Sox have not scored in the last 24 innings.
Sabathia almost gave up a hit to the first batter. Ellsbury slapped a grounder that Robinson Cano smoothly fielded near second base before catching the speedy Ellsbury. Sabathia struck out Pedroia and retired Victor Martinez on a pop up. He had at least one strikeout in each of the eight innings he worked.
After Sabathia had retired the first 13 Red Sox, he tried to spin a 3-2 cut fastball into the strike zone against Ortiz and it stayed inside. So Ortiz was the first Red Sox player to reach base, spoiling Sabathia’s push for perfection. He was not perfect, but he was very good.
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