CC Sabathia will try to match that feat on Sunday when he goes for his eighth straight victory to close out the first half of the season in the finale of the Yankees' four-game series against the Mariners at Safeco Field.
During Sabathia's 7-0 stretch, he has held a 1.88 ERA and an opponents' batting average of .199. In his most recent outing against the A's on Tuesday, he allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings and struck out 10 batters.
"It's what he did for us last year and what we're all used to seeing," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said after that game. "CC has been an ace for a long time. In this league or the National League, he's been very, very good. He's on a string right now, and he's pitching great."
Sunday's contest will be a rematch between Sabathia and Mariners starter Ryan Rowland-Smith, who squared off on July 1 at Yankee Stadium. Sabathia, of course, grabbed the win, but he needed an eighth-inning home run from Alex Rodriguez to seal that victory.
Rowland-Smith did not factor into the decision but tossed six innings of two-run ball.
"[Rowland-Smith] kept us off balance and threw the pitches where he needed to," Yankees catcher Jorge Posada said after that game.
Rowland-Smith's last start against the Royals went seven innings -- his longest since April 12. He allowed three earned runs on seven hits but was dealt the loss thanks to a gem thrown by Zack Greinke.
"It felt good to pitch into the eighth inning," Rowland-Smith said after that game. "I got back to what I was doing last year, which was getting deep into games.
"Anytime you get ahead in the count and throw a lot of strikes, you're automatically going to get deep into a game."
The Yankees have won seven of their last eight games, and it looked like they would be vying for a four-game sweep of the Mariners until the eighth inning of Saturday's game, when Jose Lopez hit a grand slam to push Seattle to a 4-1 victory.
Yankees: Impressive 11-win trio
With Phil Hughes picking up his 11th win of the season on Friday against the Mariners, the Yankees have three pitchers (Sabathia, Andy Pettitte) with at least 11 victories before the All-Star break for the first time in franchise history, according to Elias Sports Bureau. They are the third American League trio to accomplish that feat, with the Orioles doing it twice in 1970 and 1971 with Mike Cuellar, Dave McNally and Jim Palmer. The last team to have three 11-game winners before the All-Star break is the 1999 Astros, featuring Mike Hampton, Jose Lima and Shane Reynolds.
Mariners: Tough debut for Smoak
The highly anticipated Mariners debut of Justin Smoak, who was acquired from Texas in Friday's trade that sent Cliff Lee to the Rangers, didn't go exactly according to plan. The rookie first baseman went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts on Saturday and left two men on base. Still, the Mariners hope that adding Smoak, who entered Saturday ranking second among rookies in home runs (eight), RBIs (34), on-base percentage (.316) and slugging percentage (.353), will help boost what has been an anemic offense in Seattle this season. "We've talked the last couple days of this home stand about the lack of efficiency -- and most of the year," Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. "We have to get better, and that's what we're focusing on. It's no different with Justin Smoak coming in here. We're going to do the best we can to try to groom him."
The Yankees are guaranteed to reach the All-Star break with the lead in the AL East for the first time since 2004. ... Mark Teixeira has reached base safely in each of his last 31 games. He's also batting .368 (14-for-38) with 11 RBIs in July. ... The Yankees' pitching staff has held opponents to one run or fewer in four of its last six games. ... Nick Swisher is batting .435 (10-for-23) with four doubles, two home runs and five runs scored on New York's current road trip. ... Mariners star Ichiro Suzuki is riding a 12-game hitting streak. It's his 35th double-digit streak of his career, which is second to Derek Jeter among active players.
Sun, 7/11 4:10 PM ET
CC sends message as first half closes
Mark Teixeira had four hits and Derek Jeter and Marcus Thames each knocked in a pair to give CC Sabathia more than enough support to pick up his eighth straight win in the first-half finale with the Mariners.
|Pena, R, SS||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.195|
|Rodriguez, Al, 3B||5||0||0||0||0||0||6||.269|
|Thames, M, DH||5||2||2||2||0||2||3||.294|
2B: Teixeira 2 (21, Rowland-Smith, Rowland-Smith), Jeter (17, Rowland-Smith), Cano (23, Sweeney), Posada (12, White).
HR: Thames, M (3, 5th inning off Sweeney, 1 on, 1 out).
TB: Jeter 2; Teixeira 6; Cano 2; Posada 3; Thames, M 5; Granderson.
RBI: Cano (58), Posada (29), Jeter 2 (43), Teixeira (60), Thames, M 2 (13).
2-out RBI: Posada; Teixeira.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Thames, M; Rodriguez, Al 2; Granderson.
Team RISP: 4-for-13.
Team LOB: 8.
DP: 2 (Jeter-Cano-Teixeira, Rodriguez, Al-Cano-Teixeira).
2B: Kotchman (10, Sabathia).
HR: Kotchman (7, 9th inning off Moseley, 0 on, 2 out).
TB: Suzuki, I; Figgins; Kotchman 7; Smoak; Saunders, M.
RBI: Figgins (22), Kotchman (29).
2-out RBI: Kotchman.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Wilson, Ja.
GIDP: Lopez, Jo; Wilson, Ja.
Team RISP: 1-for-7.
Team LOB: 4.
E: Lopez, Jo (10, throw), Figgins (9, missed catch).
HBP: Gardner (by Rowland-Smith).
Pitches-strikes: Sabathia 96-61, Gaudin 14-8, Moseley 15-9, Rowland-Smith 65-35, Sweeney 25-16, White 16-8, League 22-14, Aardsma 14-9.
Groundouts-flyouts: Sabathia 10-1, Gaudin 0-1, Moseley 2-0, Rowland-Smith 7-3, Sweeney 1-4, White 0-2, League 1-0, Aardsma 1-1.
Batters faced: Sabathia 26, Gaudin 3, Moseley 4, Rowland-Smith 22, Sweeney 9, White 4, League 5, Aardsma 3.
Umpires: HP: Ed Rapuano. 1B: Tom Hallion. 2B: Ron Kulpa. 3B: Lance Barksdale.
Weather: 68 degrees, overcast.
Wind: 6 mph, Out to LF.
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media