The starting pitchers in this contest pretty much performed as expected.
Baltimore's Jason Hammel, returning from the disabled list for his first start since September 11, did his part and kept the O's in the game, leaving with the game tied.
After shaking off some rust in a one-run first inning, Hammel cruised through the second and third, showing great velocity and a breaking ball that improved as the game wore on.
He peaked in the third, sandwiching a Derek Jeter groundout with punchouts of Raul Ibanez and Ichiro Suzuki.
He got into some trouble in the fourth after issuing a leadoff walk to Alex Rodriguez and another to Nick Swisher. He managed to limit the damage to one run, on a one-out RBI single by Mark Teixeira. Luckily for Hammel, Chris Davis cut down Teixeira trying to stretch his single into a double.
He regained his composure during a one-two-three fifth, getting massive strikeouts on Jeter and Ichiro that really got the crowd going.
Hammel finally departed after surrendering a two-out single to Nick Swisher in the top of the sixth. In all, he surrendered two runs on four hits, getting five strikeouts and issuing four walks, one of which was intentional. He threw 112 pitches, 70 for strikes.
Altogether it was an impressive outing for a guy coming back from the DL without making any rehab starts.
Sabathia, on the other hand, battled like a true ace.
He scattered 120 pitches over 8.2 innings, allowing just two runs on eight hits. He struck out seven and walked one.
Lew Ford managed to drive him out of the game with a two-out double in the ninth, but that was really the only well-hit ball off of the hefty lefty.
Most impressive, he didn't cave under the pressure of pitching in an adrenaline-packed atmosphere, showing more concern for his fantasy football team, which he was keenly attuned to during the rain delay, according to his postgame interview with Craig Sager.
Final grade for Hammel: B
Final grade for Sabathia: A