Fortunately for the big left-hander, he's faced Baltimore four times this season -- and won every time.
Sabathia allowed two runs over seven innings, and Robinson Cano contributed three hits in a 4-2 victory over the Orioles on Wednesday night.
The Yankees bounced back from an early 2-0 deficit to win their 10th straight against Baltimore. The Yankees are 10-1 against the Orioles this season and have outscored them 65-29.
Sabathia (6-3) gave up nine hits and struck out eight in defeating Baltimore for the second time in a week. He is 13-1 lifetime against the Orioles, and his last four wins since April 16 have come at their expense.
"Weird. I don't know what to say about that," he said. "It's just really weird. Facing any team back-to-back is tough."
Cano went 3 for 4 to increase his major-league hit total to 88 and up his AL-leading batting average to .376. He also saved a run with a fine defensive play at second base.
Adam Jones scored a run and drove in one for the Orioles, who have lost 12 of 13. Baltimore stranded 10 runners and went 3 for 11 with runners in scoring position.
"He's a tough guy, one of the best lefties in the game," Baltimore second baseman Julio Lugo said of Sabathia. "We just couldn't come up with that hit. That's what we're lacking right now, getting that hit at the right time."
The shortcoming was never more evident than in the seventh inning with New York clinging to a 3-2 lead.
With two outs and Cesar Izturis on second, Nick Markakis hit a bouncer to the right side that Cano snagged with a dive to his left. Izturis was forced to stay at third on the infield hit, and after Ty Wigginton walked to load the bases, Sabathia ended his 114-pitch outing by striking out Luke Scott.
Sabathia pumped his fist as he walked off the mound.
"Real big. CC was battling," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of the strikeout. "That was a huge inning for him."
Francisco Cervelli singled in an eighth-inning run to make it 4-2.
Baltimore starter Chris Tillman (0-2) yielded three runs, two earned, in six innings. He was coming off a horrid effort against Boston in which he surrendered four runs in 1 1/3 innings.
"It might have been the best I've felt but I had the worst stuff today," the right-hander said. "I got that curveball going and that's the only thing that saved me. Fastball command was pretty poor."
New York scored twice in the sixth to take a 3-2 lead. The uprising began when Lugo was handcuffed by a grounder hit by Mark Teixeira. It was originally ruled an error and changed to a hit after the game.
Early on, though, the Orioles had the upper hand.
Baltimore went up 1-0 in the second inning on a two-out RBI single by Garrett Atkins. It was the first time in five games against the Yankees this month that the Orioles held the lead.
Successive two-out singles by Wigginton, Scott and Jones made it 2-0 in the third. Sabathia avoided further damage by striking out Matt Wieters with runners on second and third.
That would be the extent of Baltimore's offense against Sabathia.
"It's important to fight through it when you don't have your 'A' stuff," Girardi said. "I thought his stuff got better as the night went on. I looked up at one point and he had 15 balls and 15 strikes, and I don't think I've ever seen that from CC before. He found a way to get it done, and to me that's the mark of a very good pitcher."
New York got an unearned run in the fourth after a wild pickoff throw by Tillman.
Orioles RHP Jake Arrieta will make his major league debut Thursday night against the Yankees, who will counter with A.J. Burnett (who's 11-2 lifetime against Baltimore) . ... Yankees LF Brett Gardner, who hurt his left thumb on Tuesday, did not start but appeared as a pinch-runner. His backup, Kevin Russo, made an outstanding diving catch in the eighth to rob Jones of a double. ... The Orioles had allowed 11 straight stolen bases before Wieters threw out Derek Jeter in the third inning.