NEW YORK -- Joba Chamberlain went home to Nebraska over the All-Star break. He played with his 3-year-old son and just stayed away from baseball for a while.
"Probably the best four days I've had in my life," he said.It also turned out pretty well for the New York Yankees.Chamberlain won for the first time in almost a month and the Yankees got home runs from Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez in a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, completing a three-game sweep of the AL Central leaders.
• Mariano Rivera still has not blow a save against the Tigers this century, improving to 19 for 19 since 2000 with a stellar 0.30 ERA (1 ER in 30 IP).
• All three runs in the game came on solo home runs -- Clete Thomas, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira.
• Joba Chamberlain improved to 5-2 on the year, his first win in 10 starts at home this season.
• The Tigers have lost nine of their last 12 games on the road and went 1 for 26 with runners in scoring position in this three-game series.
-- ESPN Stats & Information
The Yankees celebrated Old-Timers' Day with an excellent pitching performance by one of their youngsters. Chamberlain rebounded from two ineffective starts and New York edged punchless Detroit 2-1 for the second consecutive day."Anytime you can get away and be a normal person for a few days you come back with fire in your eyes," Teixeira said. "Joba had it today."Chamberlain allowed three hits over 6 2/3 innings in his longest effort since he tossed eight innings in New York's 5-2 victory at Cleveland on June 1. He struck out eight and walked three to earn his first victory since June 24 at Atlanta.The Yankees improved to 23-9 in their last 32 home games and pulled with one game of AL East-leading Boston, which lost 3-1 in Toronto.The Tigers got another terrific outing from one of their All-Star pitchers and again came away with nothing to show for it. Edwin Jackson (7-5) nearly matched Chamberlain, yielding two runs and five hits in seven innings."I thought our pitchers did a tremendous job the entire series," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "If you told me that we'd hold those guys to nine runs in three games in this ballpark, I'd say we'd have won two out of three for sure, maybe even sweep. We just didn't get any hits. Period."CC Sabathia beat Justin Verlander on Saturday when Rodriguez went deep and Melky Cabrera drove in a run with an infield single in the seventh.Rodriguez's homer Saturday landed in the second row in right but there was no doubt about either of the Yankees' shots Sunday. Rodriguez hit an 0-1 pitch from Jackson into the Tigers' bullpen in left-center in the fourth, tying it at 1, and Teixeira reached the second deck in right on a 3-1 pitch in the sixth."Both of them hit homers on balls down," Jackson said. "As a pitcher, you try to pitch down but they are two tough hitters."Detroit had a chance to go in front in the fifth but Chamberlain (5-2) wiggled out of the jam. With runners on first and third, he retired Miguel Cabrera on a popup and struck out Marcus Thames to end the inning.Chamberlain pumped his fist after Thames swung and missed on a high 97 mph fastball with a full count. The 23-year-old, who had no record and a 6.75 ERA in his previous three starts, retired the last seven batters he faced, five on strikeouts."Being away for four days I kind of realized I was having fun but I wasn't being the Joba Chamberlain I should've been," he said. "That's not good enough. That's not good enough for my teammates, that's not good enough for my coaches and it's not good enough for myself."It's back to having fun and being confident and having that little swagger that you need."Phil Coke got the last out of the seventh and Phil Hughes struck out two in the eighth for New York. Mariano Rivera issued his fourth walk in 40 innings this season before finishing for his 26th save in 27 opportunities and third of the series.It was the first time since last September that Rivera saved three straight games in three days."When you come in here and see Mariano Rivera three straight games, that's not good," Leyland said.The Yankees held their 63rd annual Old-Timers' Day before the game, welcoming Mike Mussina, Don Zimmer and six other newcomers for their first one at their new stadium. Several Tigers watched the festivities from the visiting dugout, clapping when Whitey Ford and other former greats were announced.Detroit grabbed the lead in the fourth when Clete Thomas hit a drive into the right-field bleachers for his sixth homer.
Leyland said he had nothing new to report on injured reliever Joel Zumaya (sore right shoulder). "It's some discomfort and we'll just have to play it by ear," he said. ... Yankees OF Johnny Damon rested with a stiff back. ... Leyland said Detroit OF Carlos Guillen, on a rehab stint at Class-A Lakeland, has experienced some soreness in his balky right shoulder when he bats from the right side. Leyland wasn't sure if it would affect the Tigers' plans for his rehab.