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NYY@BAL: CC allows just three earned runs over 7 1/3

The Giants travel from Flushing to the Bronx on Friday, where they begin their final road series of the season against the Yankees after taking a three-game series against the Mets.

The Yankees, who completed their series in Toronto with a loss on Thursday night, enter Friday 3 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay and Texas for the two American League Wild Card spots. The reigning World Series champion Giants, meanwhile, already are assured of their first losing season since 2008.

Two former Cy Young Award winners duel in the series opener, though Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia and Giants righty Tim Lincecum have each seen better days. Both have struggled this year, with Sabathia -- the 2007 AL winner -- sporting a career-high 4.90 ERA and Lincecum -- the 2008 and '09 NL winner -- struggling through his second straight down season.

It has been getting better for Lincecum, who has reached double-digit wins in each of his six full seasons and is two strikeouts shy of 1,500 for his career. He also has won four straight decisions, his longest since a five-game streak from April 5-May 15, 2010.

But Sabathia has had no such run. The lefty allowed five runs in six innings in his last outing against the Red Sox, and admitted afterward the season has been difficult.

"It's very frustrating, because everybody keeps telling me I'm close, but I don't see it," Sabathia said. "I want results and I know the team wants results. I know the fans want results. It's just tough not being able to deliver."

Lincecum allowed three runs on five hits in six innings during his last start against the Dodgers. He also struck out six for his 10th win of the season.

Giants: Pagan likely to sit
• Angel Pagan has played splendidly since his return from left hamstring surgery in late August, hitting .338 with five doubles, two triples and a home run in 18 games. He's been getting a lot of precautionary rest, and manager Bruce Bochy said he'd probably sit the center fielder in Friday's series opener.

• With 26 RBIs in September, Hunter Pence needs to drive in eight more runs in the next nine games to match Jeff Kent for the most RBIs by a Giant in a calendar month (34, June 2000 and August 2002).

Yankees: A-Rod could serve as DH rest of season
• Manager Joe Girardi said on Thursday that Alex Rodriguez could serve as a designated hitter the rest of the regular season because of a tight right calf.

Rodriguez, who had to be lifted during Sunday's game against the Red Sox after injuring his calf, played the entire three-game set in Toronto.

"I'd like to get him out there if we can, but if we can't, we'll deal with it," Girardi said. "It's just part of the gig. We will go day by day, and I will check with him every other day."

Worth noting
• According to Stats, Inc., the last time the Giants played six or more games in New York within the same week was the week of Sept. 2-8, 1957.

• Giants outfielder Gregor Blanco has a seven-game hitting streak (.522).

• The Yankees will wear "Mariano Rivera Final Season" patches on the left sleeves of their jerseys and caps for the club's last four home games of the season.

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