NEW YORK — This is all anyone needs to know about the New York Yankees' latest fiasco: utilityman Garrett Jones pitched more effectively than CC Sabathia.
Sabathia was chased after 2 1/3 innings in his briefest start in six years, and a 10-run third inning propelled the Texas Rangers over the Yankees 15-4 Saturday. New York has lost nine times in a 10-game span for the first time in a decade.
"It's frustrating. You kind of want to put an end to that and be a guy to try to help us, and I couldn't do that today," Sabathia said.
New York's season has been split into three segments: a 3-6 start, an 18-6 spurt that built a four-game AL East lead and its first 1-9 skid since May 28-June 7, 2005. New York has lost five in a row, dropping to 22-21 overall.
"It's a long season. It's a grind," Sabathia said. "We know ups and downs and, obviously, this is a down part of our season. But, hopefully, we can look back on this a month from now and say this is what turned our season around."
New York's starters have a 6.62 ERA during the last 10 games — nearly double their 3.50 during the 24-game run, according to STATS. On Friday, the Yankees gave up seven runs in the third inning of a 10-9 loss.
"It's pretty frustrating to me to watch what we watched today. You know that during the course of the season you're going to have those games," manager Joe Girardi said.
Shin-Soo Choo hit a go-ahead single and a three-run homer in the third, when Texas sent 14 batters to the plate against Sabathia and Esmil Rogers.
Shoo and Prince Fielder each had two hits in the inning. Fielder finished with three RBIs and hit his third homer in two games, a two-run drive in the seventh off Branden Pinder.
The game was such a rout that Jones, a right fielder and first baseman, relieved for the Yankees in the first pitching appearance of his 17-season professional career. He got the final two outs of the ninth, walking Delino DeShields, inducing Choo to ground out, hitting Leonys Martin with a pitch and retiring Tommy Field on a flyout.
Jones was proud of his ERA.
"Nice to go on the wall to have a zero in the big leagues," he said. "I never thought I'd pitch, but it's something to add to the resume."
Jones' 17 pitches ranged from 62-80 mph.
"I actually threw a couple of curveballs, and it actually felt good coming out of my hand," he said. "I tried to mix in the two-seamer a little, but it turned into throw-the-ball-over-the-plate pretty much."
Sabathia (2-6) allowed six runs and seven hits in his shortest outing since June 21, 2009, against the Marlins, when he left after 1 1/3 innings because of a tight left biceps. He had been 4-0 with a 1.15 ERA in four career starts with the Yankees when New York entered with a losing streak of four games or more.
"The fastball was up, and they played pepper," he said.
Nick Martinez (4-0), a former infielder who played just 3 miles from Yankee Stadium for Fordham from 2009-11, gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings, including solo home runs by Carlos Beltran in the sixth and Didi Gregorius in the seventh.
Gregorius, right fielder Carlos Beltran and catcher John Ryan Murphy all made fielding miscues in the third, when the Yankees allowed double-digit runs in an inning for the first time since a 14-run second in a 22-4 loss to Cleveland on April 18, 2009.
Sabathia walked No. 9 hitter Jake Smolinski opening the third. DeShields grounded the ball up the middle, where Gregorius ranged from shortstop and stopped it with a slide, only to have the ball bounce toward right.
"It just fell out of my glove," Gregorius said. "Things happen."
Beltran allowed Fielder's single to roll past him for an error, and Murphy had a passed ball.
"Defensively, we've struggled," Girardi said, "and we have to clean that up."
After all the scoring, Girardi admitted he doesn't "expect the morale to be real good today."
These days in the Bronx, that is an understatement.
Yankees: RHP Ivan Nova, coming back from Tommy John surgery, pitched four scoreless games in an intrasquad game in Tampa, Florida, throwing 55 pitches. .... RHP Chris Martin, on the DL since May 9 with tendinitis in his right elbow, was to throw his second bullpen session Saturday and could make an injury rehabilitation appearance in the minor leagues next week, Girardi said.
Yankees: Chris Capuano (0-1), Sunday's starter, lost at Kansas City last weekend in his season debut after recovering from a strained quadriceps. He allowed four runs in three innings.