Sabathia sharp before ejection, Yankees sweep Angels
Jun. 07, 2015
NEW YORK (AP) — CC Sabathia was just looking for some consistency in the strike zone — and another steady start in a trying season.
The New York Yankees' big lefty went on a tirade after being tossed for questioning balls and strikes following an inning-ending double play in the sixth Sunday, prematurely ending one of his better outings this year, a 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.
Asked if some frustration from earlier this year could have boiled over into the argument, he said, "I guess."
Brett Gardner had a tiebreaking, three-run shot as New York won its season-high sixth straight. Jose Pirela hit his first big league homer and Chris Young also connected off C.J. Wilson (3-5).
The Yankees came back to win after building big leads in the first two games of the series. They swept the Angels, losers of five in a row, in a series of at least three games for the first time since 2003.
"I don't know if we're going to focus on the streaks or where we are in the standings. That's irrelevant right now," manager Mike Scioscia said of Los Angeles, which fell below .500 at 28-29.
Sabathia (3-7) gave up back-to-back homers to Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in the first inning but then breezed through a struggling Angles lineup the rest of the way, notching his 2,500th career strikeout in the fifth.
Pujols' homer was his 535th, breaking a tie with Jimmie Foxx for 17th place on the career list.
Sabathia got Kole Calhoun to ground into a double play with runners on first and second to finish the sixth. As he left the mound, Sabathia said he questioned plate umpire Dan Bellino's call on the previous pitch in Calhoun's at-bat, pointing to the ground for emphasis.
Sabathia then challenged Bellino's answer by saying the location of the pitch was the same as one earlier called a strike to the Yankees' Chase Headley.
"This had been going on all day, just back and forth, and I needed the pitch right there," Sabathia said of the 1-1 slider. "It was a big pitch in the game. ... It's just frustrating."
Crew chief Tom Hallion confirmed Sabathia was ejected for arguing balls and strikes but would not comment on Sabathia's interpretation of the strike zone.
"That's his opinion and he's entitled to his opinion," Hallion told a pool reporter.
Bellino tossed Sabathia as he crossed the first base line, and manager Joe Girardi left the dugout and raced toward home plate. He was quickly ejected, too.
"To throw my pitcher out for asking where a pitch is, not giving him enough — I have a problem with that," Girardi said.
Sabathia, meanwhile, changed his path and hustled toward home, shouting at Bellino. He was physically restrained by catcher John Ryan Murphy as he yelled at Bellino.
"He's a lot bigger than I am," Murphy said of trying to hold back the 6-foot-7, 285-pound Sabathia.
Sabathia allowed five hits and two runs with a walk and seven strikeouts.
Wilson, who entered with a 2.44 ERA in nine career games (six starts) at Yankee Stadium, worked neatly into the fifth, allowing only Didi Gregorius' RBI grounder. But Young led off the inning with his first homer since May 2 before Murphy and Gregorius singled. Gardner lined a shot to the short right-field porch for a 5-2 lead.
Pirela homered off Wilson to start the seventh. Wilson gave up seven hits and six runs in seven innings.
Angels: With a day off Monday, Scioscia said he didn't see the need to get reliever Joe Smith or closer Huston Street into a game just for work even after not pitching for four days. "They've pitched a lot. I don't see that four or five days off is necessarily a bad thing, if it comes to that," Scioscia said.
Yankees: CF Jacoby Ellsbury (knee sprain) is making progress but there is no date yet for him to take batting practice.
Angles: RHP Matt Shoemaker (3-4) starts at Tampa Bay on Tuesday. The Angels took two of three from the Rays last week in Anaheim, California.
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (3-1) makes his second start Tuesday since a DL stint when New York opens a two-game set against Washington. The Japanese right-hander struck out a season-high nine in a win over Seattle his last time out.
A day after riding American Pharoah to a commanding victory at the Belmont Stakes to become the first jockey since 1978 to guide a horse to racing's Triple Crown, jockey Victor Espinoza threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Espinoza waved to the appreciative crowd as he strode to the mound wearing a pinstriped Yankees jersey that came to his knees. He moved the game ball that had been placed on the rubber and took a windup, making perfect throw just off the corner of home plate.