Joba Chamberlain had a chance to reclaim his role as the Yankees' setup man, and once again he blew it.
For the first time since July 10, Chamberlain was used in the eighth inning of a close ballgame. On his first pitch in a pressure situation in two months, he hung a slider the Rangers' Nelson Cruz deposited in the left-field stands for a game-tying homer. Five innings later, Cruz ended the game with a homer on Chad Gaudin's first pitch of the inning.
Since giving up a grand slam to Jose Lopez in Seattle two months ago, Chamberlain had pitched well, with a 2.78 ERA and holding opponents to a .218 batting average, walking six and striking out 22 in 22 2/3 innings.
Friday night, he allowed just a walk after the Cruz homer, but at that time, the damage was done.
If this was a dress rehearsal for the potential postseason matchup between these two teams, Chamberlain was auditioning for a his part and he flubbed his lines.
In a related note, the two teams ended up tying an American League record by using 19 different pitchers in the game. Earlier in the day, the Twins and Indians tied the record with fewest pitchers used in a game (two).
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
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