If only CC could avoid the one bad inning

Thursday night was another one of those “one bad inning” games for CC Sabathia. All eyes were on the lefthander who had a rough time of it in spring training and was passed over for the Opening Day start for the first time since he joined the Yankees in 2009.

His pitching line over 5 2/3 innings in the Yankees’ 6-3 loss to the Blue Jays was both good (no walks, eight strikeouts) and not so good (five runs [four earned], eight hits), but nearly all of the bad stuff happened in one inning, the second, as Toronto scored four runs with five hits, four of those in succession at the start of the inning.

But while Sabathia hit a lot of bats that inning he also missed a good many over the course of his outing as the eight punchouts suggest. The fifth run off CC came in the sixth inning and was not earned due to an error by right fielder Carlos Beltran, whose throw to third base hit the runner, Josh Donaldson, and allowed him to score.

“I thought he pitched pretty well, better than his line indicated,” manager Joe Girard said of Sabathia. “He didn’t give up a lot of hard-hit balls, but they found a lot of holes. He kept the ball in the park and on the ground. If CC is going to be hit like that every time out I’ll take it.”

Sabathia blamed himself for the second-inning problems but was encouraged by his work in the other innings and that he felt fine with no knee issues.

“I felt great and think [the outing] was something to build on — no walks and not a lot of contact,” Sabathia said. “I got away from pounding the ball inside in the second inning. I have to control both sides of the plate.”

The Yankees fought back against lefthander Daniel Norris and cut the deficit to 5-3 in the sixth on solo home runs by Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. The Yankees’ first run came in the fourth inning when Didi Gregorius singled home John Ryan Murphy, who led off with one of his two doubles. Unfortunately, Gregorius rounded the bag at first base too widely and was tagged out trying to get back, marking the second time in three games he has been thrown out on the bases.

Edwin Encarnacion’s impressive home run off the wall behind the visitors’ bullpen in left field off Esmil Rogers in the eighth was the Blue Jays’ response to the Yankees’ attempted comeback. Toronto was able to win two of three games against the Yankees despite Jose Bautista going hitless in 13 plate appearances with eight strikeouts.

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