Sabathia breaks Jays winning streak
By BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency
|New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia took his record to 14-4, going eight innings and giving up one run on three hits, during their game against the Blue Jays in Toronto on July 16, 2011. (Jack Boland/QMI Agency)
TORONTO - On a day New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi suggested the Blue Jays were sign-stealing, CC Sabathia took his turn on the mound.
All the alleged Blue Jays stealth undercover workers -- Rogers Centre staff, vendors holding up two beers for a fastball (one for off-speed pitches) or the guy looking through the Nikon camera ad -- apparently all had the day off.
Sabathia limited the Jays lineup, minus injured Jose Bautista, to two singles and a John McDonald double, pitching eight innings in a 4-1 win over the Jays Saturday afternoon before 45,606 fans, the largest crowd since opening day.
Sabathia moved to 14-4, ending the Jays' five-game winning streak and dropping them one game below sea level.
The Yanks ran up the pitch count of lefty Ricky Romero to 107 through five innings. Sabathia threw 110 pitches in his eight innings before giving the ball to Mariano Rivera, who allowed two singles before recording his 582nd save.
"They take close pitches, they have a solid approach," said manager John Farrell.
Romero was bumped back to Saturday even though he did not pitch in Tuesday's all-star game. He has failed to pitch seven innings for the third straight outing after running off nine consecutive starts of seven-plus innings.
The lefty allowed four runs -- three earned -- on six hits and three walks, while striking out seven.
ONE IF BY LAND
Yanks manager Girardi says he's not 100% sure, but he threw the subject of sign-stealing out for discussion.
"If you feel signs are coming from somewhere besides a player on the field, then I have issues," Girardi told reporters. "There are parks where you need to protect your signs. I don't want to really get into it because I'm not sure.
"Sometimes we have inclinations that certain things might be happening in certain parks, we are aware of it and we try to protect our signs."
It wouldn't have anything to do with the fact starters Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia combined to allow 14 runs in 5 2/3 innings on 13 hits and six walks?
Catcher Russell Martin said he believed Jays runners were relaying signs and location to Toronto hitters from second base in Thursday's 16-7 loss and Freddy Garcia struggled with his timing as Martin flashed multiple signs with no one on base in Friday's 7-1 loss.
The Jays were 21-22 at home this season when Girardi made his complaint Saturday morning.
"We play this game to compete every day and don't look to any means other than what takes place between the lines, we're struggling to get to .500 at home," Farrell said. "We can't control over people's thoughts."
The Jays have the sixth best average in the majors, hitting .269 at home, but are 19th in the majors batting with men in scoring position with a .245 mark.
The Boston Red Sox used to complain about sign-stealing by the Jays at home and away.
Usually it was that hitting coach/manager Cito Gaston was picking up that a pitcher was tipping his pitches.
Now, if for Sunday afternoon's game the card section in centre could act a little more like the USC Trojans and hold the "O" (for off-speed pitches) and "F" (fastballs) signs just a little bit higher ...
Seats down the lines were the place to be if you wanted a souvenir on a homerless day. Shortstop Yunel Escobar sailed his throw over first baseman Adam Lind and the ball bounced into the seats in the fourth. Brett Gardner, who had doubled, scored on Derek Jeter's infield hit, the throw allowing Jeter to advance ... An inning earlier, Robinson Cano broke for second on a ball in the dirt. J.P. Arencibia fired to Aaron Hill. Hill chased Cano back to first as Curtis Granderson broke for home. Hill threw on the run and the ball carried over Arencibia into the Jays dugout allowing Granderson to score. "If Aaron's throw cuts down the runner we're probably looking at a 3-1 game," Farrell said. It was Escobar's ninth error, Hill's fifth ... Yanks hit some on the screws in the second: A Nick Swisher double, an RBI double by Andruw Jones and a double by Gardner. Then an Eduardo Nunez grounder gave the Yanks a 2-1 lead ... Jays took a 1-0 lead 12 pitches into the game -- Rajai Davis walked, stole second, his 25th of the season, and scored on an Escobar single ... Jeter singled off Jon Rauch in the ninth for his second hit of the day, giving him 3,007 on his career and tying him with Detroit Tigers Hall of Famer Al Kaline for 26th on the all-time list ... Frank Francisco had a scoreless outing of 1 1/3 innings.