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Sabathia allays fears in Yanks romp

C.C. Sabathia allayed any fears concerning his arm injury by firing seven strong innings to lead the New York Yankees to a 9-1 victory over rivals the Mets on Friday.

Sabathia, who withdrew from last Sunday's start after just 1 1/3 innings, returned to form by striking out eight batters and allowing just one run to improve to 6-1 on his last 10 starts.

Alex Rodriguez pounded a home run to right field in the eighth inning to surpass Yankee great Reggie Jackson on the all-time list with the 564th of his career, as the Yankees capitalized on early errors to win their third straight game.

"I feel like my legs are coming back," Rodriguez, who had suffered a recent slump, told reporters. "I feel like I have more strength."

It was the second straight lop-sided win of the Subway Series after the Yankees routed the Mets 15-0 in the last meeting between the teams on June 14.

This time, lead-off hitter Brett Gardner recorded five hits and three runs for the Yankees, who scored four runs in the second inning where the Mets committed three errors.

Throwing miscues by Alex Cora and Nick Evans, who was called up from the minor leagues last week, put the Mets in a 4-0 hole.

"Nothing was going right but we had a shot to get back in the game," Mets outfielder Gary Sheffield said. "When you get that one shot that's when you have to bear down."

Mets starter Mike Pelfrey pitched five innings and was only charged for two of the runs. The Yankees tacked on three more in the eighth, where Rodriguez and Gardner homered, and added two in the ninth.

Despite the loss, the Mets stayed within a half-game of the National League East lead thanks to the Philadelphia Phillies taking a loss.

"You're kind of scoreboard watching at this time for us because we're trying to survive," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "We caught a break with the way we played."

In Los Angeles, Andre Ethier had his first three-homer game and drove in a career-high six runs to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to an 8-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners.

Ethier gave the majors-leading Dodgers a 3-0 lead in the second, and made it 7-2 in the sixth with his second homer. He capped his big night with a leadoff shot in the eighth for his 14th homer of the season.

In Atlanta, Boston pitcher Josh Beckett threw seven more scoreless innings against Atlanta, guiding the Red Sox to a 4-1 win over the Braves. In Toronto, rookie pitcher Ricky Romero held Philadelphia hitless for six innings, steering Toronto to a 6-1 win.

In St Petersburg, Florida, B.J. Upton's three-run double snapped an eighth-inning tie and lifted Tampa Bay 7-3 over state rival Florida.

In other action, it was: Twins 3, Cardinals 1; Brewers 5, Giants 1; Astros 5, Tigers 4; Cubs 5, White Sox 4; Rangers 12, Padres 2; Rockies 4, Athletics 2; Angels 12, Diamondbacks 3; Indians 9, Reds 2; Pirates 5, Royals 3; and Orioles 11, Nationals 1.


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