NEW YORK – CC Sabathia and the New York Yankees hardly envisioned this kind of start Saturday — the sight of Alex Rodriguez writhing on the ground, medical personnel running to his side.

Struck on the inside of his left ankle by a sharp grounder in batting practice, Rodriguez managed to get up and walk to the locker room. X-rays were negative, though it’s uncertain when he’ll return.

“Do I expect him to play tomorrow? I have no idea,” Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said after a 5-2 victory against the Boston Red Sox.

Rodriguez was hit by Lance Berkman’s ball while fielding grounders, standing even with the third-base bag. A-Rod said he’d just waved to the Fox announcer Joe Buck when he got zinged.

“I never saw it,” Rodriguez said. “It’s never happened to me before.”

Rodriguez walked toward a protective screen in shallow center field, then went down on the grass for a couple of minutes with a bruise. Three days after hitting his 600th career home run, he was listed as day to day.

“He was in a substantial amount of pain,” Girardi said.

Once the game began, the Yankees were fine. Sabathia outpitched John Lackey, Ramiro Pena drove in two runs while subbing for the injured Rodriguez, and New York stopped its mini-slide.

“It’s what we needed. CC stepped up for us today,” Girardi said.

Robinson Cano hit a go-ahead single in the fifth inning for the Yankees, who kept the best record in the majors despite losing four of their previous five games.

Sabathia (14-5) shook off an early homer by Victor Martinez and matched David Price of Tampa Bay for the AL wins lead.

Pitching two days after the birth of his fourth child — another CC, his new son’s name is Carter Charles — Sabathia earned his 150th career victory. He pitched six-hit ball for eight innings and improved to 13-0 in 18 starts at Yankee Stadium since the 2009 All-Star break.

“It’s been an exciting week,” Sabathia said.

Sabathia was hardly his dominant self. Instead, as shadows crept across the field, he was extremely efficient. He posted his first win against the Red Sox this year after his other three starts resulted in no-decisions.

Sabathia was especially tough on David Ortiz, who struck out three times and grounded into a double play.

Mariano Rivera closed in the ninth for his 23rd save in 25 chances.

Lackey (10-7) was in trouble for most of his six innings. He’s won only once in his last seven starts, not what a Red Sox team running out of time needs down the stretch.

Boston fell to 4-6 against the Yankees this year; the clubs play eight more times.

“I made a lot of good pitches and just got nickeled and dimed to death. Little slaps that found holes,” Lackey said. “I definitely think I threw the ball better than the numbers indicate.”


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