CC Sabathia One-Hits Red Sox, Reduces Yankee Magic Number to One

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst ISeptember 27, 2009

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 26:  CC Sabathia #52 of the New York Yankees throws a pitch against the Boston Red Sox on September 26, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The Yankees gave CC Sabathia seven years and $161 million in the winter because they wanted his big-game ability in order to beat the Red Sox in games that counted.

On Saturday, they got exactly what they paid for with another dominating performance from their ace.

Sabathia allowed one hit over seven innings. The one lone hit was by Mike Lowell. CC gave up no runs, walked two and struck out eight batters.

The Red Sox seemed at times over-matched by Sabathia, who seems to be getting stronger down the stretch of the season, Sabathia is 4-0 in the month of September and in 2009, is 3-1 against Boston.

Sabathia picked up his major league leading 19th win of the season and is now 19-7. Sabathia will get one final chance Friday night to win 20 games for the Yankees in the last series of the season against the Rays.

For Boston, Daisuke Matsuzaka wasn't dominating, but he pitched well enough to keep himself and his team in the game.

Matsuzaka also pitched seven innings, allowed six hits, one run, walked five and struck out three. Matsuzaka's control is what got him into trouble with the patient Yankee batters, but he somehow managed to escape getting hit until the bottom of the sixth inning.

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Robinson Cano took a Matsuzaka pitch and hit it over the left-field wall for a solo home run and put the Yankees up 1-0. The home run was Cano's 24th of the season, and it was really all the offense the Yankees needed in this game.

After Sabathia, Phil Hughes came into the eighth and overpowered the Boston hitters with two strikeouts.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Red Sox sent up Billy Wagner, the former closer of the Mets. He was anything but sharp.

He walked Nick Swisher, and Brett Gardner came in as a pinch-runner. A wild pitch allowed Gardner to get to second. Wagner hit Melky Cabrera with a fastball and put runners on first and second.

With Jose Molina batting, Gardner took off for third and got in safely, his 24th steal of the season. Another one of Wagner's pitches got away from Victor Martinez and Gardner thought about breaking for home, but he got off too far, which started a rundown.

The Red Sox nearly had Gardner, except Chris Woodward dropped the ball when trying to tag Gardner and he was safe at third. Molina ended up walking to load the bases.

Derek Jeter struck out for the second out, but Johnny Damon hit a bloop single into right field that scored two runners and put the Yankees ahead 3-0.

Mariano Rivera came in and got Jacoby Ellsbury out and Dustin Pedroia to strike out for the first two outs in the ninth.

Victor Martinez got the second hit for Boston in the game with a single to right, then advanced to second on defensive indifference and third on a rare Rivera wild pitch.

Kevin Youkilis was hit by a pitch, so he got on and also advanced to second on defensive indifference. With two outs and runners on second and third, the game was left up to Lowell.

Lowell was over-matched by Rivera, who struck out to end the game and closed out a 3-0 victory for the Yankees. The save was Rivera's 43rd of the season.

The Yankees win their 99th game of the season and move ahead 7 1/2 games in front of the Red Sox in the American League East.

With the victory by the Yankees and the loss by Boston, it reduces the Yankees magic number to clinch the division to one. With the two losses, Boston's magic number to clinch a playoff spot remains at three.

Since August, the Yankees are now 8-1 overall and 6-0 at home against the Red Sox

In the final game of the series that will be on ESPN at 1 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. due to Yom Kippur and MLB re-scheduling the game, the Yankees will send up Andy Pettitte to finish the series sweep and clinch the division for the Yankees for the first time since 2006, while the Red Sox will counter with Paul Byrd.