Joba Chamberlain’s first inning woes continued in the series finale against the Orioles (13-19), but two timely home runs in the seventh surged the Yankees (15-16) to victory.
The Yanks struck first when Mark Teixeira deposited a two-out pitch from Koji Uehara into the right-field stands. But Chamberlain, who gave up four runs in the first inning against the Red Sox in his last start, allowed a three-run bomb to Aubrey Huff that landed right next to Teixeira’s homer to make the score 3-1.
Chamberlain and Uehara battled through the next five innings, but evaded any damage with some key double plays. It all fell apart for the Orioles when their manager Dave Trembley put the game in the hands of his bullpen.
Southpaw Jamie Walker came in to face Robinson Cano, but Cano turned on a slider to bring the Yanks within one. Back-to-back singles from Francisco Cervelli and Derek Jeter set the stage for the Yankees’ hottest hitter. Johnny Damon delivered with a three-run shot to right to give the Yankees a lead they would not relinquish. Mariano Rivera did his thing in the ninth for his sixth save of the season. Full box score here.
This season, opposing hitters were hitting .400 against Joba in the first inning, and has allowed half of his runs in the opening frame. The Yankees could not afford to lose another divisional series this week, making today’s game a much needed win.
- The Yankees are riding out Damon’s hot bat for as long as they can. Today’s homer was his fifth in seven days.
- Francisco Cervelli has quietly produced above expectations so far as the starting catcher. With two catchers above him on the depth chart sitting on the DL, I have been impressed with Cervelli.
- The unsung hero of this game was Phil Coke. He bridged the gap between Joba and Mo beautifully. He allowed one hit over two innings and struck out one Oriole.
The Yankees take the day off Monday and head up to Canada to take on their fourth straight divisional foe, the Blue Jays, on Tuesday night. Joe Girardi has elected A.J. Burnett (2-0, 5.26) to face his former team, and his former teacher, Roy Halladay (6-1, 3.29). Halladay and Greinke are the only two six-game winners in the majors thus far.