One big inning of small ball does in CC

The one-big-inning syndrome that has haunted CC Sabathia in the past was evident again Tuesday night, although there was a lot of small ball involved in that big inning, a four-run Seattle fifth that wiped out a 2-0 Yankees lead.

The inning started with a bad omen. Mariners catcher Mike Zunino was originally called out on a play at first base on his grounder to second base but was overturned after a video review that rewarded him with a single. Willie Bloomquist followed with a single to right field that sent Zunino to third base.

Abraham Almonte dropped a bunt to the right side for a hit that loaded the bases. The ball went past charging first baseman Mark Teixeira. Second baseman Brian Roberts was near the bag and could not get to first base in time to take Sabathia’s throw.

CC struck out Stefen Romero, but Robinson Cano hit a soft, one-hopper to Teixeira, who decided against throwing home for a force and got the sure out at first base instead as Zunino scored. The ball responded like a knuckleball, so Tex likely did not have a strong enough grip to chance a throw to the plate.

The other runners also advanced on the play. They scored on a double to right by Corey Hart that gave the Mariners the lead. Justin Smoak made it 4-2 with a single to right. Sabathia hit a batter and allowed a hit in the sixth and needed to be bailed out by Dellin Betances, who stranded the runners.

Cano got brutal treatment from the crowd in his return to Yankee Stadium, but he had the last laugh with a 6-3 Mariners victory. Cano did not get the ball out of the infield in five at-bats. He struck out twice, grounded out to first base twice and had an infield single and a stolen base.

His single began the seventh when the Mariners tacked on two more runs. Consecutive two-out singles by Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager and Zunino, who had four hits, accounted for the runs.

The Yankees, who had an early lead against eventual winning pitcher Chris Young on Teixeira’s third home run and a throwing error by Zunino, rallied in the ninth against Fernando Rodney but scored only one run on a single by Ichiro Suzuki, a double by Roberts and an infield single by Brett Gardner.

Yankees pitchers totaled 12 strikeouts. It marked the fifth straight game they achieved double figures in strikeouts, a franchise record.

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