CC shows stuff in CG, but outcome points wrong way

Going distance for first time since '13, Yanks lefty encouraged by improvement despite 0-3 mark

CC shows stuff in CG, but outcome points wrong way

DETROIT -- CC Sabathia on Monday night put together his best start of the season in terms of stuff, he said, and his final pitching line. But Sabathia's first complete game since July 9, 2013, wasn't enough as the Yankees lost to the Tigers, 2-1.

"I've been getting better every time out," Sabathia said. "Obviously that's not equating to wins or helping us, but hopefully I can put it together, start putting some starts like this together and help us win some games."

Sabathia did his part. The left-hander allowed two runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out five, needing only 98 pitches to get through eight innings.

Before giving up two runs on three hits and an intentional walk in the seventh, Sabathia faced the minimum 18 Tigers hitters through six innings thanks to three double plays, some defensive gems in the outfield and a rundown he took care of himself.

Yankees turn two

It was another encouraging step in the right direction overall, one not reflected in his 0-3 record to start the year.

"I think he knows he's throwing the ball well, and I think he's pleased with the way he's throwing the ball," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "But there's frustration, I'm sure."

Sabathia gave up nine runs on 15 hits through 12 2/3 innings over his first two starts, but those numbers weren't necessarily representative of how Sabathia pitched. He racked up 15 strikeouts to one walk in those starts, and 13 of the 15 hits were singles.

Sabathia gave up some hard contact Monday night, like a pair of Victor Martinez fly balls turned into outs by Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner. But he showed off a better changeup and didn't allow an extra-base hit against a lineup full of powerful right-handed hitters.

Ellsbury's diving grab

"He's right where he needs to be," catcher Brian McCann said. "Third start in, he looks great. Very encouraged."

As are Sabathia and the Yankees, as they see a much more effective pitcher than the one who was limited to eight starts last year.

"Hopefully I can just keep it going, build off of this and have a good one next time out," Sabathia said.

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.