We like round numbers. Did CC Sabathia’s season get any better on Saturday night in Baltimore? Certainly not. All he did was what he always does. He took the mound, took control, and after a relatively quick three hours, he got the win. Same old CC. But even so, Saturday night was special. On Saturday night Sabathia earned his twentieth win and became the first pitcher in baseball to reach that milestone.
It was also the first time in Sabathia’s career that he had won twenty, and afterwards he admitted to being proud of the accomplishment, but he also correctly reminded reporters that the win was bigger for the team than it was for him. With the Rays continuing to win and the Twins staying close in the hunt for the best overall record, every game counts. (And by the way, I can’t tell you how irritated I am that I’m checking Minnesota Twins scores in the middle of September.)
While CC was doing his thing on the mound, the hitters were killing the Orioles softly all night long. It was never anything terribly spectacular, just a train that kept rolling from one inning to the next. In the beginning it was about doing the little things: a two-out base hit by Posada plating two in the first, a sacrifice fly by Jeter scoring one in the second, a ground out by Jeter scoring another in the fourth.
But the lumber got louder in the fifth, as Robinson Canó homered deep to right, a shot that was rocketish enough that he was able to pose a bit at the plate before trotting around the bases and collecting his 100th and 101st RBIs. (With Robbie joining A-Rod and Mark Teixeira in the Century Club, this year marks the first time in Yankee history that three infielders have driven in a hundred runs in the same season.) The offense nicked the O’s a few more times before Curtis Granderson closed out the scoring in the ninth with a three-run home run to dead center field.
Lots of good things happened for the Yankee hitters in and around those highlights. Jeter collected two hits to extend his hitting streak to seven, Nick Swisher hobbled off the bench rap a single and a double (and later ham it up during an extended on-field interview with Kim Jones), A-Rod continued to hit the ball hard, and Brett Gardner finished with a tri-cycle. (A tri-cycle is when you get everything but the home run. I just made that up.)
But the big story was the Big Man. Mr. Sure Thing wasn’t nearly as good as he was the last time out in Tampa, but he was still able to do what he had to do to get the win. Yankees 11, Orioles 3.