Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Game 53. Yankees at Orioles.

By Elizabeth Finn, Blogging the Mystique

If Jason Giambi's career is over, someone should probably let him know, since he doesn't seem to be going down without a fight. For the second night in a row, the hot-hitting Giambi reached Eutaw Street, blasting a 415-foot home run to lift the Yankees, behind a solid Andy Pettitte, past the Orioles for a 4-2 win in Baltimore.

But the story Wednesday night wasn't the renaissance of Giambi, who drove in the first two runs of the game, the second of which was his team-leading 11th home run of the season, raising his average to .244 and his May average to over .320. Nor was it about Andy Pettitte, who pitched his second straight solid start, allowing 7 hits over 6.2 innings with his only blip a two-run home run off the bat of Melvin Mora. He also helped himself out by picking Brian Roberts off second base in the 5th.

The buzz of the game was, instead, Joba Chamberlain, who made a scheduled relief appearance on his journey to becoming a starter.

Chamberlain, who pitched 1.2 scoreless innings in relief of Pettitte, and threw 27 pitches, needed to duck back into the bullpen to finish his workload, an estimated 50-55 pitches according the Yankees. He could have crept closer to his goal during the game, but Joe Girardi and the Yankees elected to go with Mariano Rivera in the 9th, who shut the Orioles down for his 13th save of the year in as many opportunities.

The Yankees took the lead in the 5th inning when Derek Jeter hit a sac fly to center to plate Melky Cabrera, who had blooped a double to left field, his second of the night. They added a big insurance run in the 9th on Johnny Damon's RBI single. Damon had three hits in the game.

Chamberlain could start on Monday against the Minnesota Twins, taking the rotation spot of the injured Ian Kennedy, who was diagnosed with bursitis and a strained lat muscle and was placed on the 15-day DL following his abbreviated outing on Tuesday night. The Yankees have not announced who the starter will be, and left open the possibility that someone could be called up from AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre.

The Yankees have Thursday off before heading to Minnesota to play a 4-game series in the dome. Mike Mussina will face rookie Glen Perkins on Friday.

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