Sabathia, whose struggles this season have been more than well-documented, turned in a truly stellar performance: 6.2 IP, 3H, 0R, 0ER, 2BB, 6K. He pitched his heart out, matching zeros with the Rays' Erasmo Ramirez, who took a no-hitter into the eighth inning.
It was the type of veteran performance Joe Girardi has been implicitly referring to every time he refuses to give playing time to prospects like Rob Refsnyder. Refsnyder has yet to start a game since his call-up earlier this month. Girardi has been mum about why, saying only that Refsnyder is not familiar with opposing MLB pitchers. So, I guess that means that, if Mark Teixeira were healthy, Greg Bird would be languishing on the bench as well.
But then there is the little matter of a rookie named Slade Heathcott. Heathcott's 2-out, pinch-hit, go-ahead home run in the top of the ninth stunned the Rays, who had intentionally walked Brian McCann ahead of him.
Did it stun Girardi as well? Stun him into realizing he can play rookies in a pennant race? We'll see. For now, Heathcott and the Yankees are basking in a huge win for themselves, along with a tiny but welcome gain in the standings