Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 6/2/12

CC Sabathia has been the rock in the inconsistent New York Yankees starting rotation, regularly pitching deep into games and easing the load on a bullpen that's been thinned by the injuries to Mariano Rivera and David

Robertson. But after requiring 39 pitches to get through the third inning Friday night against the Tigers,

the idea of his getting through seven innings seemed near-impossible.

He was at 71 pitches, but buckled down. And he needed just 42 to get through the next four frames in a

9-4 win at Comerica Park. Curtis Granderson gave all the offense he'd need with a two-out grand slam in the

second inning for a 5-1 lead. And Alex Rodriguez tacked on a two-run homer in the ninth for insurance.

Rafael Soriano bailed out the relief corps on a shaky night; four Yanks relievers had combined to allow a

run in the eighth and load the bases with one out in the ninth before he got Miguel Cabrera to hit into a

game-ending double play.

Sabathia (7-2) ended up allowing three runs -- two in that third inning -- on eight hits and two walks

while striking out five. "It's tough but you have to go out and battle," Sabathia said. "That's what it was

today: it was a battle. ... I was able to weather the storm right there and get us back in the dugout."

It could have been worse. Sabathia escaped the third with the Yanks still up 5-3 when he struck out

Brennan Boesch with the bases loaded.

"The fastball command got a little better and everything else I throw comes off of that," Sabathia said.

"I felt the four-seam fastball got better and everything else got a little better after that."

Since joining the Yankees before the 2009 season, Sabathia had beaten every other AL team on the road.

In Detroit, he was 0-3 with a 6.00 ERA in three regular-season starts.

Sabathia was asked whether his pitch count after three innings left him believing he would not get

through seven innings for the eighth time in nine starts. "It's not my job," he said. "My job is to go get

outs until they tell me to stop."

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