Friday, May 22, 2009

Glove Potion #9

Nine is Fine

A collective groan was heard from the Yankee Stadium crowd in the first inning last night when Baltimore’s Adam Jones lined a ball off of the side of Joba Chamberlain’s knee, forcing the Yankees starter from the game after just four batters. But Al Aceves restored order, and the Yankees offense pounded Orioles pitching for the third straight day in a 7-4 victory. The win extended the Yankees’ winning streak to 9 games, their longest streak since June 5-14, 2007.

Chamberlain retired lead-off hitter Brian Roberts before taking Jones’ line drive to the side of his right knee. He was able to chase down the baseball and throw out Jones before doubling over in pain. After several minutes of being checked out by trainer Gene Monahan and Joe Girardi, Chamberlain threw some warm ups and stayed in the game. But after he allowed back-to-back singles to Nick Markakis and Aubrey Huff, Girardi removed Chamberlain from the game. X-Rays of the knee were negative and Chamberlain said afterward that he expected to make his next scheduled start on Tuesday.

Just as they did in the previous two games of the series, the Yankees went right to work in the first inning. Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, and Mark Teixeira opened the at-bat with consecutive doubles off O’s starter Adam Eaton for a quick 2-0 lead. Eaton retired Alex Rodriguez and Hideki Matsui, but walked Nick Swisher to put two runners aboard. Melky Cabrera brought them both home with the Yankees’ fourth double of the inning, a gapper to left-center field. Cabrera did Eaton a favor by getting thrown out on the base paths to end the inning.

Cano gave Aceves more room to work with in the 2nd, when he hit a laser line drive home run to right for a 6-0 Yankees advantage. Aceves gave the Yankees 3.1 scoreless innings to pick up his third win in the last five days. There would be no late, put-away inning this time, however, as the Yankees had done the last two nights. Instead, reliever Jonathan Albaladejo made a game of it. Roberts greeted him in the 5th with a solo home run. Then Ty Wigginton drove home a pair of runs with a 6th inning double, and Markakis took him deep for a solo shot in the 7th. In between, Matsui added a solo home run in the 5th inning to give the Yankees a franchise-record eight multiple home run games in a row.

The “good” Jose Veras showed up for a change and tossed 2.2 scoreless innings. He ran into a two-on, two-out jam in the 8th, but retired Roberts on a fly-out to end the inning. Then it was Mariano Rivera time, and the Orioles went down in order for Rivera’s 9th save of the season, and #491 all time.

Game Notes

All of the blather before the game about the possibility of Joba Chamberlain throwing at Aubrey Huff quickly went out the window when Chamberlain was hit by Adam Jones’ line drive. Huff was the last batter Chamberlain faced and singled to right. Ironically, Mariano Rivera struck out Huff to end the game. Maybe Joba gave a fist pump from wherever he was at the time.

Johnny Damon’s back was sore after attempting to make a catch on Wednesday, so Girardi gave him the night off. Brett Gardner was back in center field after missing two games with a sore shoulder.

The World Champion Philadelphia Phillies come to town tonight for the start of a three game series. A barrage of home runs from the two teams is expected. A.J. Burnett (2-1, 5.02) will look for his first win in a month when he faces Brett Myers (3-2, 4.50) this evening at 7:05 ET.

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