Martin earns Yankees win after Sabathia gem

Russell Martin watches his walk-off homer in the 10th inning.

Nick Swisher had a one-word adjective to describe CC Sabathia’s return to dominance.

“Awesome,” Swisher said. Though he threw in an expletive to emphasize the importance.

That was the same reaction of Yankee fans when Russell Martin led off the bottom of the 10th inning with a game-winning home run in Friday night’s thrilling 2-1 victory over the Athletics.

“Of the bat, it felt pretty good,” Martin said. “So yeah, I knew it was gone.”

“Probably, I would have to say so,” Girardi said of Martin’s home run being the biggest hit of the year. “With 13 games to go, we’re fighting to win the division and that’s a huge hit.”

The Yankees won their sixth in a row, improved to 11-4 in their last 15 games and more importantly remained one game in front of Baltimore, which defeated the Red Sox.

“It’s just one of those things that I’m so excited for,” Swisher said. “We haven’t exactly had that walk-off magic that we’ve had in the past couple of years but we’re grinding out games right now and regardless of how we win them, we’re trying to win them that way.”

The latest victory came on a night where the most encouraging sign was Sabathia’s performance. Sabathia showcased some of his most dominating stuff of the year in allowing three hits in eight shutout innings.

“Outstanding,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I think it was important for him. It was important for us. I talked about it — if you’re going to get on a roll, now is the right time.”

Sabathia also struck out 11 for his 33rd career double-digit strikeout game. And this one had the potential to be special. Sabathia made it to the sixth inning without allowing a hit and then recovered after his bid was broken up by Stephen Drew’s leadoff single.

After the only hit, Sabathia continued throwing dominant off-speed stuff that enabled him to flirt with his first no-hitter while getting several swings and misses.

“I think it’s a combination of everything,” Girardi said. “Being effective with his other pitches as well and they couldn’t sit on one pitch. He worked some fastballs away as well and that sets up sometimes his slider down and in.”

The first no-hitter for Sabathia did not happen as Drew erased that possibility with his base hit on a 93 mph fastball. He followed up losing his no-hit bid by blowing fastballs clocked between 94 mph and 96 mph for strikeouts and then escaped a bases-loaded jam in the eighth.

“I was just trying not to overthrow,” Sabathia said. “I felt pretty good coming out of the bullpen. I just wanted to make sure I kept my delivery together and make sure I commanded the ball. The velocity will come and go so it’s up to me to make pitches.
    
“He owned his fastball today,” Swisher said. “He was spotting it up. When you’ve got that fastball at 93, 94 miles per hour coming in and he drops a little snapdragon on you backdoor, just great placement. I’m really happy for him.”

The downside was a high pitch count sent Sabathia to the clubhouse for the ninth where he watched Rafael Soriano blow his fourth save. Soriano was pitching with a “dead arm” from having pitched two games Wednesday and it showed when a slider to Brandon Moss did not break and landed in the second deck in right, costing Sabathia his 14th win and delaying the Yankees’ 87th victory.

By the time David Robertson pitched a flawless 10th, Sabathia was relaxing in the clubhouse and when Martin’s bat met Sean Doolittle’s 0-1 fastball, he knew the destination and the significance.

“Of course, right off the bat I knew it was gone,” Sabathia said. “He called a great game tonight and kept the guys off-balance and it worked out.”

Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Local

Mugger uses chokeholds in Central Park attacks: NYPD

Cops are searching for a Manhattan mugging suspect tied to at least two attacks near Central Park this week.

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…