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Sabathia can't halt streak

Sabathia can't halt streak
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Yankees 2 With the frenetic atmosphere of Fenway Park in the rear-view mirror following their weekend sweep at the hands of the Red Sox, the Yankees were hoping to find their groove last night in the open spaces of Comerica Park.

No such luck.

The Bombers' skid continued with a 4-2 loss to the Tigers, as CC Sabathia failed to snap the Yan- kees out of their losing streak despite a workmanlike effort. Their fourth straight loss dropped the Yankees to 9-10, the first time they have been below .500 since they were 3-4 on April 13.

"We can't start doubting ourselves," said Mark Teixeira, whose struggles at the plate personify the team's offensive problems. "We have way too much talent in here and we're all way too good to start doubting ourselves."

The way Justin Verlander pitched last night, the 1923 Yankees would have had trouble doing much damage. Verlander shut the Bombers out over seven-plus innings, allowing seven hits - all singles - without walking a batter, and striking out nine.

"There are games throughout the year where you feel like you lost, but he beat us," Derek Jeter said. "He was better than us and he deserved to win."

Sabathia and Verlander were locked in a classic duel through five innings, but the Tigers touched the hulking left-hander for three runs in the sixth, two of them on Magglio Ordonez's home run off the top of the right-field wall.

"He was pitching a great game," Sabathia said. "I was just trying to match him."

Sabathia fell to 1-2, charged with four runs on six hits and no walks, striking out seven in eight innings. Sabathia threw 99 pitches in the complete-game loss, pitching what Joe Girardi called his finest effort of the season.

"I thought CC made about three mistakes the whole night," Girardi said. "He was exceptional. It was the best outing that we've gotten from him, which is an encouraging sign."

Unfortunately, those three mistakes accounted for all four Detroit runs, as Placido Polanco had a pair of RBI doubles in the first and sixth, while Ordonez capped a three-run sixth with his two-run homer.

"They were pitches down, right in his happy zone," Sabathia said of Polanco's two doubles. "Those were the biggest pitches of the game."

The Yankees were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, extending their futile streak to 8-for-51 (.157) during the four-game losing streak.

"That's two games in a row that we didn't help out our pitcher," Johnny Damon said. "That's not what our offense should be doing."

The Yankees' first threat against Verlander came in the fourth after Teixeira and Hideki Matsui opened the inning with singles, but the 2006 American League Rookie of the Year didn't flinch, getting Robinson Cano to line out to right field before striking out Nick Swisher and Melky Cabrera for the second time each, preserving the one-run lead.

Sabathia matched Verlander pitch for pitch, allowing just one base hit between the second and fifth innings, facing the minimum three batters in each of those frames.

"Sabathia pitched very well; Verlander just pitched better," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. Sabathia "is a great pitcher; it's just a matter of time before he starts racking up wins."

Curtis Granderson laid down a perfect drag bunt with one out in the sixth, reaching base on the infield single. Polanco followed with a double to the gap in left-center, scoring the speedy Granderson all the way from first to boost the lead to 2-0.

Ordonez gave the Tigers some breathing room, taking Sabathia's 0-1 changeup deep to right, where it bounced off the top of the wall and into the stands.

The four-run lead was more than enough for Verlander, who looked like the pitcher that won 35 games in 2006-07 instead of the guy that lost a league-high 17 games last season.

"That's as good as I've seen him throw," Girardi said. "He had been struggling coming into this game, but he's got dynamite stuff."

Verlander mowed the Yankees down 1-2-3 again in the seventh, his third perfect inning of the night. Ramiro Pena and Jeter singled to start the eighth, giving the Yankees their second legitimate rally of the game and ending Verlander's night.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 28, 2009

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