After sitting out the past two weeks recovering from a groin injury, the big left-hander showed he can still be a factor for manager Joe Girardi's ballclub -- even while pitching on the road in front of more than 100 family and friends.
Sabathia came off the disabled list to pitch six innings and become the eighth player in the modern era to win 100 games or more with two teams, and the Yankees beat the Oakland Athletics 8-3 on Friday night.
"I thought he got sharper as the night went on which I think is even better," Girardi said. "You couldn't ask for anything more, six good innings from CC where he shut them down. I thought he had everything going."
Sabathia (3-2) was just as sharp as he was in his previous start before going on the disabled list with a groin injury earlier this month. He allowed one run, three hits, walked one and had a season-high eight strikeouts.
"I was able to make pitches and I felt like I got better as the game went on," said Sabathia, who called the outing his best in more than a year. "The two-seamer command wasn't as good as I wanted it to be but just being able to throw my off-speed pitches for strikes and get some swings and misses was good."
The win was Sabathia's 100th in New York pinstripes. He also had 106 victories with Cleveland to join an illustrious list of players that includes Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan and Greg Maddux to win 100 or more with two teams.
"It means a lot to be able to win that many games here," said Sabathia, who grew up 30 miles north of the Oakland Coliseum. "I've been on some good teams and been lucky enough to stay healthy."
Carlos Beltran doubled three times and drove in three runs, Jacoby Ellsbury added two RBI while Ronald Torreyes had a two-run triple during a five-run fourth inning to help the Yankees to their second straight win in this series after getting swept by the A's in April.
Oakland scored its only run off Sabathia in the second on Matt McBride's two-out single.
The Yankees gave Sabathia plenty of support in the fourth inning when they batted around.
Torreyes tripled in two runs to break a 2-for-23 slump and he scored on a wild pitch. Beltran's second double of the game knocked in Ellsbury and Brett Gardner.
Beltran added an RBI double in the sixth.
Most of the damage came off Oakland starter Sonny Gray, who gave up five runs in 3 1/3 innings.
Gray (3-5) continued to have command problems and was knocked out of the game after retiring 10 batters. He walked four, struck out three and threw three wild pitches in his shortest outing of the season.
Two of Gray's walks and two of the wild pitches came in the fourth. The A's ace is 0-4 with a 10.38 ERA over his last five starts.
"For a while out there it looked he had things figured out," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "They just made him work a little bit . got his pitch count up. And then in the fourth,it wasn't as good."
Oakland committed three errors to raise its AL-leading total to 34.
With Alex Rodriguez close to coming off the DL -- he did some running before the game -- Beltran's days as the Yankees DH are coming to an end. Not even performances at the plate like he had Friday will change Girardi's mind. "Right now when Alex comes back I plan on DHing him," Girardi said.
Yankees: LHP James Pazos was optioned to Triple-A Scranton to make room for Sabathia.
Athletics: OF Josh Reddick is scheduled to meet with a hand specialist on Monday after fracturing the tip of his left thumb stealing second base Thursday. ... RHP Liam Hendriks (triceps strain) received a cortisone injection in his elbow. ... OF Sam Fuld is in Florida recovering from rotator cuff surgery. ... Backup C Josh Phegley will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville on Saturday. ... RHP R.J. Alvarez (elbow surgery) will throw a full bullpen session Sunday.
Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (1-0) pitches Saturday and has allowed two earned runs or fewer in six of his eight starts this season.
Athletics: LHP Sean Manaea (1-1) is coming off his first win in the major leagues and will try to become the first Oakland pitcher since Aug. 22, 2015, to pitch more than seven innings.
World Series 2021 -- Best moments, action and more from Game 2 between Braves and Astros
The Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros saw a little bit of everything in Game 1 of the 2021 World Series. Here's a look at the top action from Game 2.
Atlanta Braves fill Charlie Morton's roster spot with Tucker Davidson
Tucker Davidson, who had a 3.60 ERA in four starts this season with the Braves, has been added to the team's World Series roster in place of injured pitcher Charlie Morton.
Roller derby team sues Cleveland Guardians to stop name use
A roller derby team that has called itself the Cleveland Guardians since 2013 is suing the city's Major League Baseball team for trademark infringement.
Nelson Cruz wins MLB's Roberto Clemente Award for philanthropy
Nelson Cruz, who was nominated by the Twins before being traded to the Rays, is the 50th winner of the Roberto Clemente Award. The veteran slugger provided financial support for 1,200 families in the Dominican Republic during the pandemic.
World Series 2021: Why Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa is made for October
Houston's star shortstop has become the Astros' most vocal leader while backing up his words with every postseason swing.
Astros will look to even series with Braves in Game 2
Atlanta Braves (88-73, first in the NL East) vs. Houston Astros (95-67, first in the AL West)