On a blustery night more suited to bobsleds than baseballs, Sabathia pitched eight superb innings of four-hit ball to win his second straight postseason start, and the New York Yankees took advantage of a rare sloppy game by the Angels to win the AL championship series opener 4-1.
"CC was not cold at all," the Angels' Torii Hunter said. "Man, I faced him a lot in Cleveland, when I was in Minnesota, it was a division rivalry. The guy always pitched good in the cold. He's got a lot of meat, now. He's a big boy."
The Angels looked like chilled Californians withering in the unseasonable wintry weather, making three errors that led to two unearned runs and allowing Hideki Matsui's infield popup to drop untouched for an RBI single. But the way Sabathia pitched, the Yankees didn't need much offense.
"That's why we got CC," Johnny Damon said. "To be a workhorse during the season, of course, but to shut down teams in the postseason."
Sabathia is 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA in his first postseason with the Yankees. He gave up a double and three singles, struck out seven and walked one, going to a three-balls count just twice.
"There ain't nothing like going after him. He sets the tone, he comes out and he attacks," said A.J. Burnett, slated to start Game 2 for the Yankees. Joe Saunders, who hasn't pitched since Oct. 4, goes for the Angels.
Rain was in the forecast for Saturday, and a postponement was possible.
"The elements probably won't faze me at all," Saunders said.
At 4-0, New York is the only unbeaten team in this postseason. The Yankees won the opener against the Angels in the 2002 and 2005 first round only to lose Game 2 both times and get beaten in the series.
It was 45 degrees at gametime, and a 17 mph wind made it feel worse.
Nick Swisher, Damon and Mark Teixeira donned special caps with ear flaps. Robinson Cano wore a ski mask.
"I was wearing the Elmer Fudd for the first time in my career, but I had a few guys with me," Teixeira said. "As far as Robby is concerned, we'll get on him."
Angels shortstop Erick Aybar wore a red hood that covered his neck and ears. Los Angeles starter John Lackey, however, pitched in short sleeves.
New York, which hadn't been to the ALCS since its epic collapse against Boston in 2004, built a 2-0 lead in the first. Derek Jeter and Damon singled, and left fielder Juan Rivera threw to the shortstop position for an error that put runners on second and third.
Alex Rodriguez's one-out sacrifice fly - his seventh RBI of the postseason
- gave the Yankees the lead, and Matsui followed with a short popup. Third baseman Chone Figgins and Aybar each thought the other would snag it. As they looked at one another, the ball fell for a single as Damon came home.
"One of us has got to catch it. Pretty simple," Figgins said. "The mistakes that we made cost us."
Aybar didn't hear anyone call for the ball. Figgins shouted Aybar's name when the ball went up but said it was probably too loud to hear.