Sanchez homers, Sabathia stays solid, Yanks win 9th straight
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) —
Big bats have powered the New York Yankees during their longest winning streak since 2012. Their starting pitchers have been holding up their end of the bargain, too.
With New York’s sluggers mostly held in check, CC Sabathia helped the Yankees to their ninth straight win.
Gary Sanchez hit a two-run home run, Sabathia pitched seven more effective innings and the Yankees beat the Los Angeles Angels 2-1 on Sunday night for their first sweep at the Big A since July 2003.
“Obviously, the offense is a big story for us, but we’re not doing this without the starting pitching we’ve been getting,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “It’s been a good brand of baseball all the way around, but the starting pitching are the guys that set the tone.”
Sabathia (2-0) gave up one run, five hits and a walk while striking out four. The 37-year-old lowered his ERA to 1.71 and has allowed just one earned run in three starts since returning from a right hip injury.
Boone was impressed with how Sabathia was able to maintain consistency throughout his longest outing since going seven innings in a no-decision against Seattle last August.
“He was commanding everything, but it’s been really the story of what he has been this year,” Boone said. “Tonight was able to get a little bit deeper even because his pitch count wasn’t an issue. The ability to throw the change in any count, the breaking ball for a strike, and the cut fastball, that’s why he is still good.”
The only spot of trouble Sabathia faced was when Ian Kinsler doubled in the third. Kinsler reached third base on a throwing error by shortstop Didi Gregorius after the barrel of Mike Trout’s broken bat came flying toward him, but Justin Upton grounded out to end the inning.
Sanchez then launched a pitch from Tyler Skaggs (3-2) in the fourth inning into the stands in left field. The ball went 447 feet and gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead.
“Only other person I’ve seen go over the bullpen is A-Rod,” Sabathia said.
Skaggs made it 5 1/3 innings and allowed two runs while striking out eight. New York kept him busy early — Brett Gardner opened the game with a nine-pitch groundout, and Skaggs was at 42 pitches after getting through the second inning.
Sabathia and the bullpen made sure Sanchez’s seventh homer was enough, even after Upton scored on a wild pitch in the sixth inning to make it 2-1.
Chad Green struck out Zack Cozart to escape a jam in the eighth, and Aroldis Chapman got his sixth save by striking out Rene Rivera and Kinsler to end it after issuing a one-out walk to Chris Young.
“We got some good players in here, so it’s just up to us to go out and execute,” Sabathia said. “These guys are going to hit. It’s up to us to keep pitching and help the bullpen out.”