Another huge rally was the difference in this game against the Tigers. Joba Chamberlain had trouble finding the strike zone early in the game, but also induced a lot of fly outs early in the count. Mariano Rivera was forced to pitch in the ninth, and the Yankees pulled out another victory to put them back over .500 at 11-10.
After 32 pitches, Chamberlain had thrown 17 balls, which led to Detroit’s lone run in the third inning. The Yankees responded in a big way in the fourth behind two big hits. After Jorge Posada stole his first base since 2007, Nick Swisher, batting lefty, jacked a three-run homer over the left field wall. Later in the inning, Johnny Damon doubled in another run to force rookie starter Rick Porcello out of the game. Then with the bases chucked, Hideki Matsui drove a ball over the left fielder’s head to clear the bases.
Swisher homered again in the fifth, this time batting right-handed, and is tied for fourth in the league with seven roundtrippers.
Chamberlain pitched through the seventh inning in just 88 pitches, but was relieved by Phil Coke in the eighth. The Tigers gave every Yankee fan a heart attack in the ninth inning after Curtis Granderson hit a three-run homer off Rivera to make the score 8-6. But Mo popped up Placido Polanco to end the game. Full box score here.
If the Yankees had lost tonight, I probably would have cried. I’m glad Joba followed Phil Hughes’ performance last night with a strong outing. He could have pitched the eighth, but I believe he was rightfully pulled to preserve his arm for the rest of the season. There was no need to pitch him an extra inning with a seven-run lead.
- Without Swisher, the Yankees would probably be in fourth or fifth place right now. The Yankees are now 5-1 when he homers in a game.
- Mark Teixeira has been in a bad slump. He’s hitless in his last 12 plate appearances.
- Chamberlain got out of a huge two-out bases loaded jam in the third by striking out Miguel Cabrera. After that he was dominant.
The Yanks start up a four-game series with the Angels tomorrow night back in the Bronx. A.J. Burnett (2-0, 5.47 ERA) squares off against another rookie starter, Anthony Ortega (0-1, 7.20 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.