CC Sabathia was laboring for the Yankees. Again. What started so promisingly with 10 straight Orioles going down transformed into an exercise in survival.

But this was Sabathia right? He was up 7-5 with two out in the sixth. He felt he had enough to at least finish the inning. Then he saw manager Joe Girardi coming to get him. He admitted some surprise.

“Yeah but I guess I can’t be surprised by anything that happens this year” Sabathia said.

So the surprise was laced with a heavy dose of understanding.

“The way I’ve been pitching I don’t deserve a longer leash right now” said Sabathia (12-11) who emerged with the win in the Yankees’ 8-5 victory. “I have to prove myself. That’s something I’ve done over the past and that’s something I’ll do to gain his trust again.”

Girardi sensed Sabathia’s surprise at the hook but it didn’t alter the manager’s plan.

“He’s not used to coming out of games but I just felt it was time to make the move” Girardi said.

Sabathia who felt last night was indicative of his season continued his struggles as for the sixth time in 10 starts he failed to complete six innings going 5²‚ƒ. But with the Yankees unloading 13 hits— six of them bunched with a walk in the five-run fifth — the offense bailed out the lefty.