Another day, another come-from-behind win.
Behind seven strong innings from Joba Chamberlain, the Yanks overcame an early but small one-run deficit to down the A’s 8-3. For the AL East-leading Bombers, it marked the team’s eighth straight victory. With Boston edging the hapless Orioles and the Rays rebounding from Mark Buerhle’s perfect game, the AL East playoff picture remains the same. The Yanks will keep on nursing that 2.5 game lead.
Heading into Friday’s affair, a win was no sure thing. Bret Anderson hadn’t allowed a run in three straight starts, stopping the Rays, Red Sox, and Angels during that stretch. In the first inning, the Yanks fell behind 1-0 on a double, a stolen base and a sacrifice fly. After Anderson struck out Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon, and Mark Teixeira with well-placed fastball and some nasty breaking pitches, that one run seemed to be more than enough.
But, just as they did against Vinny Mazzaro on Thursday, the Yanks caught up with the crafty lefty after a few trips to the plate. In the third, they plated two to take a lead they would not relinquish. Robinson Cano singled, and after a Nick Swisher pop up, Melky Cabrera lined a double down the left-field line. Derek Jeter hit a patented opposite-field single, and Johnny Damon drove in the second run with a fielder’s choice. Had someone covered first base, it would have been a double play. Instead, the ball hit Damon’s thigh, and the Yanks scored.
Meanwhile, Joba settled down, and he settled in. After the first inning, he was nearly untouchable, and he dazzled the A’s. He would allow one hit through his final six frames. In the fifth, he ran into some self-generated trouble and showed the old Joba emotion. After two walks and a wild pitch, the A’s found themselves with one one and the tying run on second. But Joba struck old Mark Ellis and Eric Patterson. He unleashed a roar and a fist pump for the ages.
After this spot of trouble, the Yanks’ bats took over. They plated a few on some outs in the fifth and sixth. In the eighth, aided by an Oakland miscue and a Jorge Posada home run, the Yanks blew it wide open in the 8th. They scored four runs, and even a David Robertson meltdown in the 9th couldn’t bring the A’s any closer than 8-3.
Game, set, match. Joba goes seven-plus innings, surrendering one run on two hits. He walks three and strikes out six for his sixth win of the year. His ERA is at an impressive 3.86, and the Yanks are rolling. Eight in a row. And that’s a wrap.
Rookie Pitcher Update: With this victory, the Yankees are now 19-7 against rookie pitchers. That’s the best mark in the majors. For what it’s worth, this is the second time they’ve faced Anderson this year, and the second time they’ve beaten him.