Everything was clicking for CC Sabathia. His pitches were humming, Yankees batters were in a groove and the defense even turned a triple play.
Sabathia pitched seven innings for a rare win at Tropicana Field, leading New York past David Price and the Tampa Bay Rays 10-2 Thursday night in a matchup of former AL Cy Young Award winners.
Sabathia (2-2) allowed two runs and seven hits, improving to 2-7 in 12 starts at Tropicana Field since joining the Yankees in 2009. He lowered his ERA to 5.19.
"I’ve struggled here, especially against Price," Sabathia said. "For these guys to come out and swing it the way they did, I wanted to be able to put some shutdown innings together, and was able to do that."
Sabathia had six strikeouts and two walks.
"He’s reinvented himself," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He pitched really well. The thing that was really obvious was all the called strikes we had today, the taken strikes. There was a lot of them, I thought more than we’ve had in a while."
Price (2-1) entered 6-1 in nine starts against Sabathia but gave up six runs and 10 hits in five innings. Sean Rodriguez hit into a triple play and had a solo homer for the Rays, who have lost four straight.
"This is one start," Price said. "I know you guys blow it up to be a lot more than it really is, but everybody’s going to have their bad days. I had mine."
Brian Roberts, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and rookie Yangervis Solarte drove in two runs each for the Yankees, who have started 10-6 for the fourth consecutive year.
Roberts and Ellsbury both had run-scoring triples, and Derek Jeter hit an RBI single during a three-run second that put the Yankees ahead 4-0.
New York tripled twice in an inning for the first time since Brett Gardner and Jeter on May 19, 2011, at Baltimore, according to STATS.
Alfonso Soriano and McCann made it 6-1 with consecutive homers during the fifth. Solarte added his first major league homer, a two-run shot off Grant Balfour in the ninth
Tampa Bay got a run in the fourth when Logan Forsythe scored on McCann’s passed ball, beating Sabathia’s attempted tag at the plate. Rodriguez homered during the seventh.
Rodriguez grounded into a triple play for the second time in his career. The Rays had runners on first and second in the second when Rodriguez hit a hard grounder off Sabathia that Solarte fielded, and he stepped on the third to retire Evan Longoria.
Solarte threw to Roberts at second base to get Wil Myers. The play ended when Scott Sizemore, who had not played first base in his previous 658 professional games, made a nice scoop of Roberts’ relay throw.
"They’re big plays obviously and everyone gets excited," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
It was the first triple play hit into by the Rays since Rodriguez grounded into one on Aug. 16, 2011, at Boston.
Sabathia was pitching the previous time the Yankees turned a triple play, on April 12 last year against Baltimore. He was also on the mound for a triple play on April 22, 2010 against Oakland.
New York got a scare during the third inning when right fielder Carlos Beltran flipped over the short wall down the right field line chasing Desmond Jennings’ foul ball. Beltran stayed in the game.
"I just didn’t want to take my eyes off the baseball because of the roof," Beltran said. "A little bit of my left shoulder and my right wrist (are sore). Other than that, I’m fine."
Beltran hopes to play Friday.
"I’ve got to see how I’m going to wake up tomorrow," Beltran said. "Hopefully I’m fine."