NEW YORK – CC Sabathia twirled on the mound, gave a shout and violently punched the air.
Far from a must-win, it certainly was a welcomed one for the New York Yankees and their ace.
Sabathia outpitched David Price for the first time in six career matchups between the all-star lefties, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson homered and the Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 Thursday.
“CC seems to be the big guy right now,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Sabathia (5-0) struck out 10 as New York overcame a pair of early errors by third baseman Eduardo Nunez and sent Tampa Bay to its fourth loss in five games.
Sabathia punctuated his outing by fanning B.J. Upton with two runners on base to end the seventh inning with the Yankees leading 5-2. The burly pitcher let loose, catcher Chris Stewart pumped his fist and Upton pounded his bat in the ground after swinging over a slider.
Sabathia allowed two unearned runs in eight innings — the fourth straight start he’s gone exactly that long. He finished up by striking out Carlos Pena, who slung his bat all the way to the Tampa Bay dugout in disgust.
Rafael Soriano gave up a run in the ninth for a save in his first try of the season. In 2010, he led the American League in saves with Tampa Bay.
Soriano yielded a single and an RBI grounder, a night after the Rays scored four runs in the ninth off fill-in closer David Robertson. Girardi said he wasn’t going to use Robertson for a third straight day, but was OK to do it with Soriano.
Price (5-1) never found a rhythm and gave up 11 hits, many of them well tagged. Trying to win five consecutive starts for the first time in his career, he instead wound up on the wrong end of another personal first — never before had two left-handed hitters homered off him in the same game.
Orioles 6, Rangers 5 (Game 1);Rangers 7, Orioles 3 (Game 2): Josh Hamilton hit his major league-leading 15th homer, Derek Holland pitched six innings of four-hit ball, and Texas beat Baltimore for a doubleheader split.
In the opener, the Orioles set an American League record by hitting home runs in their first three at-bats and launched five in all against Colby Lewis in a 6-5 victory.
Hamilton entered the doubleheader coming off a four-homer game and had five home runs in his previous six at-bats. After going 1-for-4 with a single and two strikeouts in the first game, he resumed his assault on Baltimore pitching by hitting a two-run, first-inning shot off former Rangers right-hander Tommy Hunter (2-2).
Hamilton went 1-for-4 in the nightcap, dropping his batting average to .395 but increasing his major league-leading RBI total to 38.
Holland (3-2) allowed three runs, none earned, to earn his first win in four starts since April 18.
Recalled from AAA Norfolk before the game, Hunter gave up four runs and five hits in six innings. He struck out seven.
Indians 8, Red Sox 3: Embattled starter Josh Beckett did nothing to help restore his reputation, getting booed off the field at Fenway Park in the third inning.
Jack Hannahan hit a two-run homer and Jason Kipnis had a solo shot off Beckett, who was already in hot water with Red Sox fans for playing golf last week a day after he was scratched from his scheduled start with a sore lat muscle in his back.
His return to the rotation couldn’t have gone much worse. Beckett (2-4) gave up seven runs on seven hits and walked two in 2 1/3 innings as Cleveland built a 7-1 lead. Michael Brantley went 4 for 5 with two RBIs for the Indians.
Tigers 10, Athletics 6: Miguel Cabrera broke out of a slump with two RBI hits in Detroit’s eight-run third inning and Detroit went on to beat Oakland.
Cabrera, who came into the game hitless in his previous 14 at-bats, finished with four hits, including an RBI double and a run-scoring single in the big third inning. Cabrera also had an RBI single in the fifth.
Blue Jays 6, Twins 2: In Minneapolis, Henderson Alvarez pitched seven strong innings to win his third straight start in Toronto’s victory over Minnesota.
Alvarez (3-2) stretched his scoreless streak to 17 innings before a throwing error allowed the Twins to score in the third. He also gave up a homer in the sixth.
Yunel Escobar scored three times and hit four singles for the Blue Jays against Jason Marquis (2-2). The Twins are a major league-worst 8-23.
Nationals 4, Pirates 2: Stephen Strasburg struck out a season-high 13 over six innings and Washington snapped a three-game losing streak.
Roger Bernadina and Adam LaRoche both homered in the sixth off Pittsburgh’s Kevin Correia (1-3) to erase a two-run deficit. Henry Rodriguez pitched the ninth for his seventh save. — Agencies