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, Fla. (AP) — CC Sabathia protected his teammates,
not his wallet.The 38-year-old left-hander got his 246th win and moved the New
York Yankees closer to hosting next week’s AL wild-card game but may have cost
himself a $500,000 bonus.Sabathia was ejected from Thursday’s 12-1 win over the
Tampa Bay Rays in the sixth inning for hitting Jesus Sucre on a leg in
retaliation for Tampa Bay reliever Andrew Kittredge throwing a pitch behind
Austin Romine.Making his final regular-season start, Sabathia had thrown 55
pitches over five innings to raise his season innings total to 153 — two shy of
a $500,000 performance bonus in his contract.“I don’t really make decisions
based on money, I guess,” Sabathia said. “I just felt like it was the right
thing to do.”Yankees manager Aaron Boone didn’t rule out Sabathia (9-7) getting
into a game this weekend in Boston.“That’s definitely above my pay grade,” Boone
said when asked whether New York should still pay the bonus.New York (98-61)
ensured its winningest season since going 103-59 en route to the 2009 World
Series title and moved two games ahead of Oakland (96-63) for hosting the Oct. 3
wild-card game. The Yankees hold the tiebreaker, which means one more Yankees
win or Athletics loss ensures the winner-take-all game would be in the Bronx.
The wild-card winner advances to a Division Series against AL East champion
Boston.“We know what’s at stake, and we took a good step toward it,” Yankees
slugger Giancarlo Stanton said after homering twice to raise his season total to
37.Miguel Andujar and Luke Voit also went deep for the Yankees. New York’s 260
homers tied the 2005 Texas Rangers for the second-most in major league history,
four behind the 1997 Seattle Mariners.With New York ahead 7-0, Sabathia hit Jake
Bauers on the knuckles of his right hand with an 88 mph two-seam fastball with
two outs in the fifth.Kittredge threw a 93 mph fastball behind Romine’s neck
with his initial pitch in the sixth, and plate umpire Vic Carapazza issued a
warning to both benches.“I think there’s no question there was intent. You throw
one over the head, I hated it ,”
Boone said.Sabathia started out of the Yankees dugout and had to be intercepted
by Boone.“I think we all took exception to that, I think, anytime you feel a
player’s safety is in jeopardy,” Sabathia said.Romine turned to the catcher and
asked Sucre, “Why?”“You can’t throw balls at people’s head, plain and simple,”
Romine said.After New York opened an 11-0 lead, Sabathia hit Sucre the lower
left leg with a 93 cutter on his first pitch in the bottom half, causing
Carapazza to eject the pitcher and Boone.Sucre declined to comment, while
Kittredge said it’s “just baseball.”“Obviously that was a high-and-tight pitch,”
Kittredge said. “That’s not a comfortable feeling for him. It is what it is, I
guess.”Sabathia stared and pointed toward the Tampa Bay bench while walking to
the Yankees dugout after being tossed. Relievers in both bullpens stood up but
the other players remained in the dugouts.“You don’t throw at someone’s head. He
did what he felt he needed to do,” Stanton said of Sabathia.Sabathia, likely the
Yankees’ fourth starter during the postseason, allowed one hit Erik
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, lowered his season ERA to 3.65 and struck out
five to increase his career total to 2,986. He has a $10 million base salary in
his one-year contract.Luis Cessa and Jonathan Loaisiga completed a two-hitter,
giving New York its third straight series win. Cessa gave up C.J Cron’s homer in
the seventh.Andujar hit a three-run homer during a four-run first off Jaime
Schultz (2-2). Aaron Judge had a sacrifice fly and Voit hit an RBI double in a
three-run fourth.New York’s four-run sixth included back-to-back solo homers by
Voit and Stanton, who had his 32nd multihomer game.Tampa Bay’s Tommy Pham walked
in the ninth to extend his on-base streak to 29 games, the longest active run in
the AL.TRAINER’S ROOMYankees: CF Aaron Hicks (left hamstring) should start
Friday night and SS Didi Gregorius (right wrist) also could also return during
the final regular-season series. Both ran the bases and took batting practice,
while Gregorius took grounders. “Looking good for both of them,” Boone said. …
Neil Walker started at third base, one day after getting hit by a pitch on the
left shin.Rays: 3B Matt Duffy (right quadriceps) will have his status evaluated
Friday.UP NEXTYankees: LHP J.A. Happ (16-6, including 6-0 with Yankees) is
scheduled to start Friday night at Boston, which lines him up to pitch against
Oakland on regular rest. RHP Luis Severino starts Sunday, which lines him up for
a Division Series opener at Fenway Park on Oct. 5. RHP Rick Porcello (17-7)
starts Friday for the Red Sox.Rays: RHP Tyler Glasnow (2-7) starts Friday for
the Rays and LHP Thomas Pannone (4-1) for Toronto. SAN DIEGO (AP) — Rookie
Francisco Mejia is quickly giving the downtrodden San Diego Padres a hopeful
glimpse of the future.The 22-year-old hit his first grand slam with two outs in
the ninth inning and the rebuilding Padres rallied to beat the Texas Rangers 7-3
Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep in a matchup of last-place teams.It was the
first walkoff for Mejia, who was promoted from Triple-A on Sept. 4. The prized
catching prospect has hit three homers since then.Mejia was obtained from
Cleveland for closer Brad Hand and reliever Adam Cimber on July 19. He is part
of the third wave of young talent that has come up since late in the 2016
season, when the Padres turned from a failed win-now approach to rebuilding via
the farm system.“It’s a really special moment,” Mejia said through a translator.
“Especially for my career. It’s great.”The switch-hitter, batting
right-handed ,
turned on the first pitch he saw from reliever Jeffrey Springs and drove it to
left field.He said he was “looking for a pitch up in the zone, especially with
the shadows out there. I wanted to look for a good pitch there and get a good
swing on it.”Mejia was doused with a cooler of ice water at the plate and the
celebration extended into the clubhouse.Asked what he’ll remember most about the
homer, he said it would be “the energy, the moment coming into the clubhouse and
having everyone waiting for me there.”Manager Andy Green said Mejia “seems at
home with this group of guys. He showed up and everybody welcomed him and
brought him into the family, and everybody has enjoyed him. When you’re new to a
club you want to come through quick because it makes you feel like a part of it.
Clearly he did that in a big way for us today.”Green watched the winning shot
from his office after being ejected in the top of the ninth.“I do feel
comfortable,” Mejia said. “I think the home runs, those are always going to
come. That’s just part of the game. But I do feel comfortable being here and
being a part of this team.”Ownership expected the Padres to be better this year
than their finish of 71-91 last year, but the Padres are one loss away from
matching last year’s win total. They’ve lost at least 90 games for the third
straight season and the fourth time in eight years.The Rangers were two outs
away from a 3-2 win and a three-game sweep before rookie Franmil Reyes hit a
bloop single to right off rookie reliever Jeffrey Springs (0-1) and made way for
pinch-runner Travis Jankowski. Freddy Galvis then doubled to left to bring in
Jankowski with the tying run.Pinch-hitter A.J. Ellis walked as Galvis took third
on a ball four-wild pitch. Cory Spangenberg walked to load the bases and bring
up Mejia, who homered to left on the first pitch he saw.“Things unraveled a
little bit just with the walks, but I’ve got to hand it to him,” Banister said
about Springs. “The guy’s never been in that situation before. I put him in that
situation and I thought he showed a grit throughout the course of an
inning.”Green was ejected in the top of the ninth after Robinson Chirinos
appeared to hit the ball off the knob of his bat into fair territory. Padres
reliever Trey Wingenter fielded the ball and threw to first. After the umps
huddled and then went to a video review that lasted four minutes, 50 seconds,
Green was ejected for arguing and Chirinos was awarded first on a
hit-by-pitch.“I was pretty adamant telling them it’s not a reviewable call, it’s
on the field,” Green said. “You have to fix the call on the field. It has to be
a fair ball or a hit batter. It can’t be a foul ball. I’m not quite sure how we
arrived where we arrived.”The Rangers loaded the bases but failed to score.Kirby
Yates (5-3) got the last two outs of the ninth for the win.The Padres had
runners on first and third with no outs in the eighth and failed to
score.Rangers starter Mike Minor allowed two runs and four hits Carlos
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, struck out seven and walked one. He also doubled.
Minor’s only big mistake was allowing Hunter Renfroe’s homer with two outs in
the first, his 23rd.Willie Calhoun homered with one out in the second, his
second, and Jurickson Profar hit a leadoff shot in the third, his 18th. Both
were off Padres rookie Jacob Nix, who also allowed Robinson Chirinos’ RBI single
in the sixth.Nix allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings, struck out
three and walked one.UP NEXTRangers: RHP Adrian Sampson (0-1, 5.06) is scheduled
to make his second start with Texas when it opens a three-game home series
against Tampa Bay on Monday night. The Rays will counter with RHP Tyler Glasnow
(1-6, 4.48).Padres: RHP Bryan Mitchell (1-3, 6.07) is scheduled to go in the
opener of a three-game home series against San Francisco on Monday night, his
third start since returning from 1 ½ months on the disabled list. He’s 1-0 with
a 1.64 ERA in 11 innings since being reinstated. The Giants will counter with
LHP Andrew Suarez (6-11, 4.33).
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