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Yanks top Rockies after rain delay

New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (52)
CC Sabathia pitched four strong innings and had two ugly at-bats before the rain delay.
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DENVER (AP)

CC Sabathia was rolling along until rain ruined his day.

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The New York Yankees lefty had his good stuff going on this dreary afternoon. But the weather did what the Rockies couldn't - knock him out of the game.

No matter, his bullpen filled in just fine.

Sabathia and five relievers held Colorado to four hits, Robinson Cano cracked a solo homer and the Yankees beat the Rockies 3-1 on Thursday in a game that was delayed more than two hours by rain.

''I was just disappointed,'' Sabathia said.

That he didn't pitch more than four innings because of the weather?

''That I didn't get any more at-bats,'' said Sabathia, who was 0 for 2 at the plate with two strikeouts. ''Horrible. I'm sure my son will be all over me. I'm scared to go home.''

Sabathia tried everything to stay loose during a delay that lasted 1:59, just in case the storm clouds quickly moved out of the area. He even made some tosses in the batting cage.

Eventually, the storm did pass, but it was too long a layoff to send him back out to the mound. The first pitch also was delayed by wet weather, for 8 minutes.

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Sabathia was just finding his stride when the skies opened up, too. Mixing in a 91 mph four-seam fastball with a stealthy slider, he retired 11 straight after giving up a single to Troy Tulowitzki in the first inning.

A stream of relievers picked up where Sabathia left off. Adam Warren (1-0) earned his first big league win by getting five big outs after the rain delay. Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth to remain perfect in 13 save chances.

Now, if only Warren could locate that final baseball. It would make a nice memento.

''Working on that,'' he said. ''It's pretty neat.''

This was a series dominated by pitching, a departure from the reputation Coors Field has earned over the years. The Yankees outscored the Rockies 6-5 - pretty much a typical one-game score in this park - as they took two of three.

''It's crazy,'' Sabathia said. ''It's just good pitching. Just one of those things.''

Cano had a memorable afternoon that included an infield single in the third for his 1,500th hit. He also hit the 186th homer of his career, moving past Paul O'Neill for sole possession of 17th place on the franchise list.

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''The biggest thing today was the win,'' Cano said. ''You want to win games and be able to help the team, get on base, and it was just a good win.''

Jeff Francis (1-3) threw four innings and gave up two runs before rain forced the umpires to signal for the tarp. The lefty didn't return when play resumed.

''It's hard to get frustrated with the weather. You just have no control over that,'' Francis said. ''It's the same for both teams. Something happens and you try to make the best of it.

''They're a good team, but we expected more out of ourselves this series.''

Vernon Wells had an RBI single in the first for New York and Chris Stewart drove in another run on a sacrifice fly.

Tulowitzki was back in the lineup after missing the previous two days with soreness in his legs. He wasn't in his customary cleanup spot but hit No. 3 in the order as manager Walt Weiss elected to flip-flop the All-Star shortstop and Carlos Gonzalez against the left-handed Sabathia.

Tulowitzki was 1 for 3 with a walk, while Gonzalez wound up 0 for 3 and struck out twice. Gonzalez drove in the Rockies' lone run with a sacrifice fly in the first.

''Our pitching was outstanding. Offense was definitely subpar,'' Weiss said. ''Not acceptable.''

New York took the lead for good in the fourth when Stewart's sac fly brought home Chris Nelson, the former Rockies infielder who led off the inning with a double. Cano added his team-high ninth homer an inning later.

Colorado tied it in the second when Dexter Fowler beat the throw home on Gonzalez's sacrifice fly to left. Fowler eluded Stewart's tag just long enough to reach his hand around the catcher's shin guards and touch home plate.

Stewart was a little upset over the call, thinking he applied the tag in time. Yankees manager Joe Girardi came out of the dugout to briefly argue with plate umpire Phil Cuzzi.

Cuzzi also was involved in a close play at first base in the ninth inning Wednesday, when he ruled Brennan Boesch safe on an infield single that brought in the go-ahead run during the Yankees' 3-2 win.

New York jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the series finale when Wells laced an RBI single to right. Wells also had a productive game the night before when he hit a two-run homer, scored the go-ahead run in the ninth and then filled in at third base for the first time in his big league career.

Rest assured, Wells isn't planning a position change after playing flawless third base. But if the occasion should arise again, he would gladly take over at the hot corner.

''I take ground balls everywhere, so I'm ready for anything,'' Wells said.

NOTES: New York SS Eduardo Nunez (left ribcage tightness) said he hopes to play on Friday. ... Yankees OF Curtis Granderson (broken right wrist) was to begin a rehab assignment Thursday at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. ... Sabathia threw 51 pitches, breaking a string of 13 straight starts in which he reached the 100-pitch mark. ... Weiss was asked if he thought Rivera's strike zone seemed to expand in the ninth Wednesday. ''I'm not allowed to comment on those things, am I?'' he said. ''I'm a little green in this position, but I'm smart enough to know that one.''

Tagged: Yankees, Rockies, CC Sabathia, Vernon Wells, Robinson Cano, Troy Tulowitzki, Chris Stewart, Carlos Gonzalez

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