NEW YORK (AP) — James Shields and B.J. Upton made bad throwing errors that let Robinson Cano score the only run, sending CC Sabathia and the New York Yankees to a 1-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.
A day after Derek Jeter got five hits, including No. 3,000, All-Stars Shields and Sabathia (13-4) staged a classic pitchers’ duel, matching zeros until the bottom of the seventh inning.
Cano led off with a single, and Jorge Posada’s popup to shallow centre was gloved on the run by Upton, who wound up and rocketed a throw well over first baseman Casey Kotchman’s head.
Cano moved to third, and took a big lead. Shields (8-7), one of the toughest pitchers to run against in the game, then tried to pick him off.
The ball went wide and a stunned and happy Cano trotted home.
Sabathia finished a four-hitter for his 12th career shutout. The big left-hander struck out nine and walked one.
The Yankees almost grabbed the lead in the third. Eduardo Nunez and Jeter started the inning with consecutive singles and both runners moved up on Curtis Granderson’s sacrifice. But Nunez tried to tag up on Mark Teixeira’s fly ball to centre, and Upton cut him down at the plate.
Upton himself was picked off in the fourth, when he got caught by Sabathia in a rundown and was tagged out by first baseman Teixeira.
Sean Rodriguez led off the second inning with a double against Sabathia, but was cut down by All-Star catcher Russell Martin when he attempted to steal third.
Shields, who leads the major leagues with 10 pickoffs this season, got another complete game, but his third straight loss since winning three complete games in a row.
He gave up four hits, struck out five and walked four.
Sabathia has won six straight decisions. With fans chanting “CC! CC! CC!” he struck out Ben Zobrist in the ninth, then retired Elliot Johnson to finish the game in a zippy 2 hours, 11 minutes.
Afterward, fans lingered and cheered Sabathia while he got a shaving-cream pie smooshed in his face on the field. New York won two of three against AL East-rival Tampa Bay in their final series before the All-Star break.
NOTES: The fan who caught Jeter’s home run for his 3,000th hit, Christian Lopez, was posing for pictures with fans at the back of the lower-level stands on the third-base side. … Jeter got a warm hand his first time up. … Shields hasn’t allowed a stolen base all season. No one has run on him since Angels speedster Peter Bourjos on April 30. … A female fan was hit in the head by a foul ball off Yankees DH Jorge Posada’s bat during the second inning. Stadium medical staff attended to the woman, whose head was bleeding, and placed her in a wheelchair and took her to first aid. The extent of her injuries was unknown.
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