Sabathia notches 3,000th K in Yankees’ loss to Diamondbacks

The Associated Press

PHOENIX — CC Sabathia struck out a former teammate for No. 3,000 of his career, celebrated with the rest of the New York Yankees on the field and tipped his cap to the appreciative Arizona crowd.

As the big left-hander walked toward the batter’s box, he looked up to see Carter Sabathia waiting in the front row. The father slid his massive frame through the netting and gave his youngest son a huge hug, followed by embraces with the rest of his family.

After months of anticipation and three starts with his family in tow, Sabathia could finally celebrate a milestone only 16 other players in 143 years of major league baseball had accomplished.

“It’s been a fun time these past couple weeks, these guys following around with me,” Sabathia said Tuesday after becoming the 17th player in major league history and third left-hander to reach 3,000 career strikeouts. “It’s a special time.”

The Yankees lost the game 3-1 to the Diamondbacks, thanks to a sterling performance by Arizona’s own ace Zack Greinke.

The night still belonged to Sabathia, the affable ace who can still dominate at age 38.

Sabathia (1-1) arrived in the desert needing three strikeouts to hit 3,000 and got them all in the third inning.

The milestone whiff came when John Ryan Murphy, his former batterymate in New York, swung through a changeup, sending the Yankees spontaneously pouring out of the dugout. The crowd roared and continued cheering until Sabathia tipped his cap before hugging his kids.

“It’s disappointing to lose, but tonight’s about celebrating the man in what’s been an amazing career,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “To be a part of it was special.”

Playing his final season, Sabathia became the first pitcher to reach 3,000 strikeouts since Atlanta’s John Smoltz in 2008, and joined Randy Johnson and Steve Carlton as the only lefties to do it.

Wilmer Flores hit a solo homer and a run-scoring single off Sabathia. He allowed two runs and five hits, and struck out five before being lifted with two on and one out in the sixth inning.

“I was a baseball fan tonight,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “What he did is a pretty amazing accomplishment.”

Greinke (5-1) won his fifth straight game and stretched his scoreless innings streak to 18 before Gleyher Torres’ run-scoring double in the fourth inning.

Greinke allowed one run and five hits in 7 2/3 innings. He struck out seven and has 2,481 in his career to move past Jack Morris (2,478) for 38th all-time.

Greg Holland worked a perfect ninth for his sixth save in six chances.