CC Sabathia allowed a run in seven innings andjoined Tampa Bay's David Price as the only 12-game winners in theAmerican League, and the New York Yankees roughed up the SeattleMariners for an 8-2 victory Sunday and head into the All-Star breakwith baseball's best record.
The World Series champions are 56-32 and have a two-game leadover the Rays in the American League East. New York has won nine of11.
Sabathia (12-3) won his eighth straight decision and made itlook easy. After consecutive singles from Casey Kotchman and JustinSmoak in the second inning, Sabathia set down the next 11 beforeMichael Saunders' single leading off the sixth.
Meanwhile, the Yankees roughed up starter Ryan Rowland-Smith forsix hits and six runs in just four innings. Rowland-Smith (1-9)wasn't helped by two errors that allowed two unearned runs in thefirst inning.
Mark Teixeira doubled twice - once helped when Saunders lost afly ball in the sun - and singled off Rowland-Smith. Derek Jeteradded a two-run double in the fourth when the Yankees knocked outRowland-Smith.
Marcus Thames hit a two-run homer in the fifth off relieverBrian Sweeney, his third longball of the season, as the Yankeestook three of four from the slumping Mariners.
Sabathia will be a spectator at the All-Star game in Anaheim. Anew rules disallows any pitcher who started Sunday fromparticipating in Tuesday's game.
After starting the season a pedestrian 4-3, Sabathia has beendominant since the beginning of June. In his last eight starts,Sabathia has gone at least seven innings and given up three earnedruns or less in all eight. His win on Sunday made Sabathia thefirst Yankee to win eight straight starts since Roger Clemens inthe 2001 season.
Sabathia struck out one and walked one. Only once did Seattleput together any sort of rally when three consecutive hits platedthe Mariners first run in the sixth inning. Chone Figgins had theRBI single that scored Saunders. Kotchman added a solo homer in theninth.
Otherwise, the Mariners looked more than prepared to for athree-day break to try and forget a miserable first half. Theexpectations of contending in the AL West were long ago replaced bythe debate of if the Mariners will lose 100 games for the secondtime in three seasons.
First inning errors by Jose Lopez and Figgins set the tone,accentuated by three wild pitches and a hit batter byRowland-Smith. Seattle enters the All-Star break having lost 9 of11.
NOTES: Sabathia is the first Yankee since Mike Mussina in 2002to win at least 12 games before the All-Star break. ... Seattle LHPErik Bedard played catch on Sunday, will throw a bullpen in Anaheimnext weekend and still may have a minor league rehab assignment ashe continues his recovery from shoulder surgery. ... Ichiro Suzukiextended his hitting streak to 13 games with a sixth-inning single.... Yankees TV analyst John Flaherty, a former big league catcher,caught a foul ball on the fly in the booth.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times