Sabathia goes the distance in clincher

The New York Yankees turned to their ace on Friday, and CC Sabathia delivered.

Sabathia fanned nine and allowed one run in a complete game, as the Yankees defeated the Baltimore Orioles 3-1 to advance to the ALCS.

Sabathia is just the third Yankees pitcher – and the first in 50 years – to throw a complete game in a winner-take-all postseason game. Ralph Terry (1962) and Johnny Kucks (1956) pitched shutouts in World Series Game 7s.

CG in Winner-Take-All Game
Yankees Postseason History

No Yankees pitcher had thrown a postseason complete game since Roger Clemens in the 2000 ALCS, and no southpaw had done so since Whitey Ford in the 1961 World Series.

During the regular season, no one recorded more strikeouts with his slider than Sabathia’s 136. It was more of the same on Friday. The Orioles were 0-12 with seven strikeouts on at-bats ending in his slider. Six of Sabathia’s nine strikeouts were on pitches outside the zone.

Sabathia is now undefeated in his last 8 postseason starts, the fifth-longest streak in Yankee history. Since joining the Yankees, he is 7-1 with a 3.09 in the postseason.

With nine strikeouts Friday, Sabathia moved past Whitey Ford and now has the fifth-most postseason strikeouts for a southpaw.

Though Sabathia stood at 111 pitches entering the 9th, manager Joe Girardi opted to let him finish the game. The Yankees are now 93-0 when leading after 8 innings at home in the postseason.

Lowest BA in Series They Won
Yankees Postseason History

The Yankees advance despite hitting just .211 in the series. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, you’d have to go back to the 1962 World Series to find a series in which the Yankees had a lower batting average and still won.

Of course, the Orioles’ offense was even worse. Adam Jones and Matt Wieters combined to hit .116 with 0 RBI in the ALDS.

Including a 4-30 effort on Friday, Baltimore hit .187, which is the lowest in an ALDS since the 2009 Red Sox hit .158.