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Yankees 8

Tigers 6

DETROIT - Members of the mythical Phi Sigma Joba Starter nation danced in celebration last night when their man made a very strong case that he best serves the Yankees in the rotation.

In what remains a white-hot debate among Yankee fans and inside the organization, Chamberlain gave PSJS reason to believe he can be the front-end-of-the-rotation pitcher Hank Steinbrenner predicted he would become by overpowering the Tigers in an 8-6 victory that was witnessed by 28,348 fans at Comerica Park.

After struggling through the first three innings when Chamberlain said he wasn't aggressive enough, Chamberlain blistered the Tigers across the next four to post his first win of the season in four starts.

"I needed a kick in the rear end to get going," Chamberlain said of frames four to seven in which he retired the first nine batters and the final three. "I was falling behind and not attacking the zone."

Before the Yankees scored seven runs in the fourth and chased 20-year-old Seton Hall Prep product Rick Porcello, Chamberlain limited the Tigers to one run despite loading the bases twice.

The biggest pitch he made was a 78-mph curveball that fanned cleanup hitter Miguel Cabrera to strand three runners.

"It was a little momentum swing," said Chamberlain, who allowed a run, three hits, walked three, hit a batter and fanned six. "When [Jorge Posada] put [curveball] down I had conviction. It was great."

Tigers manager Jim Leyland was impressed with the key pitch.

"You have to give Chamberlain credit; he threw a nasty hook," Leyland said.

Buoyed by Chamberlain not giving up multiple runs, the Yankees struck for seven runs in the fourth inning. The first of two Nick Swisher homers plated three runs and the sizzling Hideki Matsui drove in three other runs with a double. Johnny Damon accounted for the other run with an RBI double.

Swisher, who homered from the left side in the fourth, did so again from the right side an inning later.

Chamberlain's night was done after seven innings and 88 pitches. Phil Coke worked a perfect eighth, but things got shaky in the ninth when Jonathan Albaladejo was so bad Joe Girardi had to call on Mariano Rivera.

With runners on second and third and the Yankees ahead 8-3, Rivera gave up a three-run homer to Curtis Granderson before Placido Polanco popped up for the final out.

Ever since Chamberlain arrived in 2007 as a reliever and pushed speed guns close to 100 mph, people have been looking for him to duplicate it as a starter. And it's simply not going to happen.

Nevertheless, last night he pitched consistently at 93 mph and got Brandon Inge to fly out on a 96-mph heater in the fourth.

"He did a good job with the fastball, going in and out," said Girardi, whose 11-10 club finished a disappointing (2-4) road trip with two straight victories, thanks to strong outings from Phil Hughes and Chamberlain. "After three innings he put people away."

As for the Great Debate, Girardi sided with PSJS.

"That's what we feel he can do," Girardi said. "He has such good stuff we can debate it forever."

Last night PSJS won a round in the great debate with the Phi Sigma Joba Reliever fraternity that will involve Chamberlain forever.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 30, 2009

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