NEW YORK -- Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia was surprised when manager Joe Girardi came out to yank him Friday night.
"But I guess I can't be surprised by anything that happens this year," said Sabathia, who had thrown just 86 pitches. "I'm just grinding it out and do what I can. ... I don't blame him."
Sabathia may be making $23 million this season, but he sure isn't earning it.
Sabathia (12-11, 4.91 ERA) allowed five runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings, but escaped with a win because the Yankees' offense erupted for eight runs on 13 hits.
"They squared up the one ball. I didn't think he threw like the numbers indicated," Girardi said.
In his past nine starts, Sabathia has pitched to an unsightly 7.33 ERA (50.1 IP, 65 H, 41 ER).
In six of those nine starts, he's given up at least five runs.
Sabathia retired the first nine Orioles he faced, but the wheels fell off from there.
Sabathia surrendered a two-run home run to Danny Valencia in the fifth -- the career-high 28th homer he's allowed this season.
"I felt like they just put some balls in play," Sabathia said. "I felt like I threw the ball pretty well, there was just a couple times they were able to get to me."
In his first four seasons as a Yankee, Sabathia averaged 18 wins, seven losses and a 3.22 ERA.
That's not going to happen in 2013.
But Sabathia can salvage his entire season if he pitches brilliantly in September and the Yankees somehow make the playoffs.
• Four Yankee relievers combined to throw 3 1/3 scoreless innings. Girardi mentioned after the game that he needs to manage with a sense of urgency this late in the season. David Robertson got four outs, while Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect ninth to record his 39th save of the season. The team's pitching staff will expand come Sept. 1.
• Robertson has allowed just one earned run in his past 29 appearances (29.1 IP) since June 19.