ANAHEIM -- CC Sabathia has allowed at least one home run in each of his last five starts, and with Mike Trout and C.J. Cron joining his hit list on Monday, it's official: No Major League pitcher has surrendered more round-trippers (19) than the big Yankees' left-hander has this season.
As Sabathia absorbed a 4-1 loss to the Angels that left him sporting a 3-8 record and 5.59 ERA, he seemed most dissatisfied once again with the team outcome. The Yankees have won just six of Sabathia's 16 starts this season, and that is the ugliest statistic in his view.
Pitching against the same Angels team that he had beaten earlier this month in New York, Sabathia was predictably challenged by the right-handed bats of Albert Pujols and Trout, though he was able to limit the damage to one extra-base hit apiece.
"When he makes a mistake, they're squaring it up," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Sabathia. "We've talked about how his command is really important for him. When he makes a mistake ... when you miss, you're going to get hit."
Pujols doubled home a run in the first inning and Trout hit a two-out homer in the third. Kole Calhoun struck a run-scoring double off Sabathia in the fifth and Cron crushed a long homer leading off the seventh.
"I just battled. I made some good pitches," said Sabathia, who has been working on pitching inside more. "I made some bad pitches. It's just part of it, but I'm battling and I feel like I'm getting better."
The Yanks' loss had plenty to do with Trout's excellent defense in center field as well; Girardi said that Trout might have been responsible for stealing three or four runs with his glove, plus the one he produced against Sabathia.
As he has done most of the season, Girardi said that he viewed Sabathia's outing as a positive step. At the least, Sabathia provided distance, hurling 95 pitches over 7 1/3 innings and permitting six hits, a walk and striking out five.
"I thought he threw the ball pretty well tonight," Girardi said. "I know it comes up as four runs in 7 1/3 innings, but I thought he threw the ball better tonight than he has recently."
This has been the most discouraging season of Sabathia's career, but he still has confidence that there are better days around the corner.
"It's tough, but it's part of being an athlete," Sabathia said. "Figuring things out, going out there and battling, and trying to do better."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.