|AP Photo / Carlos Osorio|
CC Sabathia was not entirely on top of his game this afternoon, but he he gave the Yankees a strong outing, giving up only 4 hits and walking three in 7 shutout innings. CC mixed up his pitches today throwing more changeups than usual and putting more velocity on his fastball. He was only able to induce 4 strikeouts which is a low mark for him, but he managed to keep the bats of Detroit's lineup to grounders and fly balls; it proved to be enough to prevent the Tigers from scoring any runs.
But most notably, CC completely shut down the "meat" of the Tigers' lineup. Two of his 4 strikeouts came against Prince Fielder who struck out swinging in the first and fourth innings. All three of Miguel Cabrera's at-bats against CC ended in groundball plays. For the afternoon, Cabrera would never get on base.
David Robertson came in to pitch the 8th inning and would pick up where CC left off. Although he gave up singles to Torii Hunter and Fielder for his first hit of the afternoon, he struck out Cabrera and Matt Tuiasosopo swinging and induced a pop-up from Victor Martinez.
And although it was not a save situation, Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth inning. He too gave up 2 singles to Omar Infante and Ramon Santiago, but induced a groundout and flyout from Brayan Pena and Austin Jackson, respectively. He closed the game with a strikeout that caught Hunter swinging.
The offense got to work right away against Verlander. Although there were no runs produced in the first inning, Kevin Youkilis doubled on a fly ball to center field. In the second, Francisco Cervelli doubled on a flyball to left scoring Ichiro Suzuki, who was on first base after a force out. After Lyle Overbay flied out to left, Jayson Nix hit a monster home run to left. The Yankees were up 3-0 and never looked back.
In the ninth, after singles to centerfield, both Nix and Brett Gardner scored on another single from Youkilis.
And the Yankees are getting all that they've needed from Youkilis, Hafner and Wells. In place of Alex Rodriguez at third, Youkilis is batting .409 with 9 hits, 4 runs and 4 RBIs in his first 22 at-bats. Hafner is hitting to a .350 clip, having gotten a hit in all 6 games thus far. Wells is hitting .294 with 5 hits and 4 RBIs on two solo home runs.
Tomorrow, Hiroki Kuroda will keep his place in the lineup following his fnger injury, to face the Cleveland Indians against former phenom Ubaldo Jimenez. What I'm looking forward to, as I'm sure many of you are, is to see what Nick Swisher will do against his former team. Needless to say I'm hoping this won't be a good series for him. Game time is 4 pm.
Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper