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Chacon settles down, pitches Yankees past O's

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- Johnny Damon calls Shawn Chacon "a very cool cat."

He wasn't talking about the weather.

Chacon pitched out of trouble for much of a raw, cold afternoon and resembled the pitcher who helped save the Yankees last year, leading New York over the Baltimore Orioles 6-1 Saturday.

Making his first start in 10 days, Chacon (2-1) gave up one run and four hits in seven innings, lowering his ERA from 8.03 to 5.59.

"He needed it. I think the team needed it," Alex Rodriguez said.

Chacon allowed runners in four of his first five innings before settling down to retire his final eight batters.

"Throughout the game, I always just keep in mind you're one pitch away from getting out of a jam," he said. "There's going to be days when I don't put myself in jams and it's a little smoother, but I take all the confidence in the world knowing I can get out of those jams."

After Baltimore put runners on second and third with one out in the third, Chacon got former AL MVP Miguel Tejada on a comebacker, then retired Jay Gibbons on a popup.

Trailing 2-0, Baltimore loaded the bases with one out in the fifth. Tejada hit a sacrifice fly before Chacon snagged Gibbons' sharp comebacker.

"He was coming right at us. He was challenging us," Gibbons said. "I felt we let him off the hook a couple of times, but he threw pretty good."

Chacon's chances to start have been limited in the early weeks of the season because of off days. In his prior starts, he gave up first-inning homers to the Los Angeles Angels' Orlando Cabrera and Kansas City's Reggie Sanders.

"Not giving up two-run homers in the first inning, that's always a bonus," Chacon said.

While he was low-key about his performance, Yankees manager Joe Torre said it gave the pitcher a mental lift.

"He was pretty proud of himself when he got out of there," Torre said.

Hideki Matsui got the big hit, a bases-loaded double that put the Yankees ahead 4-1 and chased Daniel Cabrera (1-2) with none out in the sixth inning, just before the rain resumed. The hit ended New York's 0-for-16 slide with the bases loaded.

On Friday night, Matsui took a called third strike on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded, ending New York's 6-5 loss. He wasn't thinking about that when he came up Saturday.

"The game could have gone either way at that point in time," he said through a translator.

It was only 48 degrees at gametime -- it felt colder -- and both starters had trouble gripping their breaking balls. Baltimore manager Sam Perlozzo was bothered that Cabrera didn't throw his curveball much in the early innings.

Cabrera, who entered with an AL-high 17 walks, displayed a great fastball -- he threw a 98 mph pitch past Gary Sheffield in the first -- but once again struggled with his command. He gave up six runs, five hits and five walks in five-plus innings, striking out five. His ERA jumped to 6.87.

"People have been talking about walks -- I walked people all my life. It's not new," Cabrera said. "I just try to throw strikes, and sometimes I don't."

Derek Jeter's RBI single in the third and Bernie Williams' sacrifice fly in the fourth built the 2-0 lead. After Matsui's hit in the four-run sixth, many of the remaining fans left -- the announced attendance was 50,872, but the crowd at its maximum appeared less than half that.

Johnny Damon hit a run-scoring infield single off John Halama that Tejada made a diving stop on in the shortstop hole, but couldn't hold on to. Eddy Rodriguez came in and walked Jeter with the bases loaded.

Messy runs on a messy day.

"Those conditions out there were absolutely nasty," Alex Rodriguez said.

Notes

  • In one of those meaningless baseball oddities, the Yankees are 7-0 in day games and 1-8 at night.
  • Brian Roberts' third-inning steal made the Orioles 15-for-15 on stolen-base attempts this year.
  • Chacon hadn't allowed a steal in his previous 17 appearances.
  • Yankees C Kelly Stinnett grabbed Corey Patterson's fourth-inning foul ball on the third try, letting it pop up off his mitt twice.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Shawn Chacon turns away Baltimore's scoring threats, allowing a run and four hits in seven innings.  (AP)
Shawn Chacon turns away Baltimore's scoring threats, allowing a run and four hits in seven innings. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

H. Matsui
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
New York

S. Chacon
IP 7.0
H 4
ER 1
BB 3
K 3
 

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Baltimore Orioles
Brian Roberts, 2B4110110 .320
Nick Markakis, LF3000112 .213
Melvin Mora, 3B1000110 .273
Miguel Tejada, SS3021002 .395
Jay Gibbons, RF4000017 .297
Javy Lopez, DH4020000 .278
Kevin Millar, 1B4000003 .228
Corey Patterson, CF4000021 .156
Raul Chavez, C4010001 .250
Totals311613616 
Batting
SF - Miguel Tejada (1)
SH - Melvin Mora (1)
RBI - Miguel Tejada (16)
SB - Brian Roberts (6, 2nd base off Chacon/Stinnett)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - B. Roberts-Tejada-Millar
Baltimore Orioles
Daniel Cabrera (L,1-2) 5566550 6.87
John Halama 0.2100100 4.26
Eddy Rodriguez 2.1100110 2.08
Pitches-Strikes - Daniel Cabrera 104-54, John Halama 18-10, Eddy Rodriguez 42-22
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Daniel Cabrera 4-5, John Halama 1-1, Eddy Rodriguez 1-5
Batters Faced - Daniel Cabrera 24, John Halama 4, Eddy Rodriguez 9
New York Yankees
Johnny Damon, CF5011012 .279
Derek Jeter, SS3012110 .350
Gary Sheffield, DH3110114 .343
Alex Rodriguez, 3B4220011 .306
Jason Giambi, 1B0000300 .286
    Bubba Crosby, PR-RF1100000 .000
Hideki Matsui, LF4112002 .295
Bernie Williams, RF2001012 .244
    Andy Phillips, 1B1000000 .083
Robinson Cano, 2B2110201 .339
Kelly Stinnett, C3000013 .200
Totals286767615 
Batting
2B - Hideki Matsui (4, Cabrera)
SF - Bernie Williams (1)
SH - Kelly Stinnett (2)
RBI - Johnny Damon (9), Derek Jeter 2 (15), Hideki Matsui 2 (10), Bernie Williams (5)
2-OUT RBI - Johnny Damon (4), Derek Jeter 2 (8)
Team LOB - 7
New York Yankees
Shawn Chacon (W,2-1) 7411330 5.59
Kyle Farnsworth 1200020 4.50
Ron Villone 1000010 2.70
HBP - Mora (by Shawn Chacon)
Pitches-Strikes - Shawn Chacon 111-63, Kyle Farnsworth 18-14, Ron Villone 10-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Shawn Chacon 6-12, Ron Villone 2-0
Batters Faced - Shawn Chacon 29, Kyle Farnsworth 5, Ron Villone 3
Game Information
Attendance - 50872
Game Time - 3:03
Temperature - 48
Umpires - Home - Jerry Crawford, First Base - Chuck Meriwether, Second Base - Brian O'Nora, Third Base - Phil Cuzzi