CC Sabathia was on the hill Friday night for the New York Yankees (6-8), seeking to earn more of Joe Girardi’s trust for the final rotation spot. The team played under the lights against the Baltimore Orioles (4-12) in Tampa. Two things worth taking notice of prior to the game: Aaron Hicks returned to the lineup after being scratched on Thursday with a stye in his eye, and Rob Refsnyder got another start at 3B.
Starting lineup for the Yankees:
- Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
- Brett Gardner, LF
- Brian McCann, C
- Mark Teixeira, 1B
- Alex Rodriguez, DH
- Dustin Ackley, 2B
- Aaron Hicks, RF
- Didi Gregorius, SS
- Rob Refsnyder, 3B
P: CC Sabathia
Starting lineup for the Orioles:
- Joey Rickard, CF
- Jonathan Schoop, 2B
- Manny Machado, 3B
- Mark Trumbo, 1B
- Christian Walker, DH
- Nolan Reimold, LF
- Dariel Alvarez, RF
- Caleb Joseph, C
- Paul Janish, SS
Sabathia struggled mightily out of the gate, giving up two doubles (Rickard, Machado) and a homer, (Trumbo) before whiffing Walker for the first out of the game. Sabathia was able to collect himself without surrendering any more runs in the first inning, but the Yankees were already down 4-0 before they even stepped up to the plate.
In the bottom of the first, the Yankees’ top of the lineup went down in order, so all eyes were on Sabathia as he returned to the mound. After quickly serving up a single down the third base line, it looked as if the veteran pitcher was in danger of another burdensome inning. But Sabathia escaped the inning without further damage, throwing up his first zero on the scoreboard.
Teixeira walked on a 3-2 count for New York’s first base runner of the evening, and Ackley pulled a double into the RF corner to place two runners in scoring position for Hicks. The Yankees’ off-season acquisition went down swinging, but Gregorius worked some two-out magic and drove in both runners with a hard-hit single to the outfield. Refsnyder continued the rally with an infield single, setting up runners on the corners with leadoff man Ellsbury at the dish. A fly out stranded Gregorius and Refsnyder, but the Yankees chipped away at the deficit, bringing the score to 4-2.
Following a one-out single by O’s catcher Caleb Joseph in the fourth inning, Refsnyder botched his first play at third base this spring on a chopper hit by Janish. With Baltimore threatening to score with men on second and third, Rickard sent another high-bouncer to Refsnyder. The prospect redeemed himself by navigating around Janish to make the play and give the Yankees their second out. Sabathia walked Schoop to load the bases, but the Yanks left Sabathia in to work his way out of the jam.
However he couldn’t come through in the big spot against Machado, as a two-run single would end Sabathia’s night. Andrew Miller was called upon from the bullpen, and Trumbo singled off of the left-hander to increase Balitmore’s lead to 7-2. Miller then caught Christian Walker looking at strike three to end Baltimore’s three-run fourth inning.
Dellin Betances came on the fifth inning into replace Miller. The flame-throwing setup man threw a dominating inning, striking out Alvarez and Joseph to hold Baltimore’s lead at five runs.
Luis Cessa toed the rubber in the sixth while looking to continue his encouraging spring. After inducing a ground out to Refsnyder to begin his outing, a walk and a misplay by Refsnyder (later changed from an error to a base hit) put runners on first and second for the O’s. Machado came through yet again with a single into centerfield that lengthened Baltimore’s advantage to 8-2. Cessa would strike out Trumbo on three pitches and get Walker to ground out to Refsnyder, thus ending the top of the sixth inning.
The Yankees went down in order in the bottom of the sixth and sent Cessa back to the mound for the seventh.
A ground-rule double by Reimold and a single by Alvarez gave the Orioles their ninth run of the game. A double, single, and wild pitch furthered the gap to 10-2.
The Orioles would go on to score one more run in the 9th inning off of right-handed pitcher Nick Rumbelow, and the Yankees would fail to score in the home-half, losing their ninth game of the spring by a score of 11-2.
- Yankees notables: Sabathia (3.2 IP, 7 R, 4 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 1K), Gregorius (1-2, 2 RBI)
- Orioles notables: Machado (3-4, 2B, 4 RBI), Trumbo (2-4, HR, 4 RBI), Ryan Flaherty (2-2, 2B, RBI)