pitched as if his place in the
New York Yankees
' postseason rotation was at stake.
Winless in eight starts since beating Boston on Aug. 6, Chamberlain responded with his first victory in 1 1/2 months and led
the Yankees over the
9-5 Friday night.
Earlier this week in Anaheim, Calif., manager
and Yankees coaches met with the 23-year-old right-hander.
''I wouldn't say that we read him the riot act. We just had a discussion that we knew he was capable of pitching better and
that we need to see him pitch better,'' Girardi said.
Chamberlain (9-6), slated to be the Yankees' No. 4 starter in the AL championship series and World Series, had scuffled while
the Yankees held down his pitch count and innings to keep him under his preset and undisclosed limits. He had gone 0-4 with
8.42 ERA in eight starts since beating Boston.
On Friday, he retired his first 11 batters before
's solo homer and allowed three runs and five hits in six innings, throwing 86 pitches. He struck out five and walked one.
''You've just got to be challenged,'' Chamberlain said. ''There's a lot of people in this game that want your job and you
know when it comes down to it you have to look like they're going to try to take money off your table and try to take away
wins and a championship away from you.''
homered, drove in four runs and tied a career high with three steals as the Yankees, already assured of a playoff berth, lowered
to three the magic number for their first AL East title since 2006.
(14-8), Boston's best starter during the second half of the season, crumpled to the mound in pain when struck near his right
's liner in the third inning. His head back and eyes closed, Lester was looked over by trainers from both teams. After about
2 minutes, Lester hobbled off with the assistance of
trainer Paul Lessard, and
helped him down the dugout steps.
''When it first happened, it looked terrible. It sounded terrible,''
X-rays were negative, and Boston said Lester had a bruised quadriceps.
''It hit off my knee going about mach seven,'' Lester said. ''It hit me in a good spot, where it didn't do too much damage
that, hopefully, I won't miss any time.''
He allowed five runs and eight hits in 2 1-3 innings.
''I had good stuff tonight. It was one of those nights they made it seem like I didn't,'' Lester said.
New York has won seven of eight against Boston, including a four-game sweep at Yankee Stadium from Aug. 6-9, after starting
the season 0-8 against the
Rodriguez's two-run homer in the third was New York's team-record 127th at new Yankee Stadium. New York hit 126 homers at
old Yankee Stadium in both 2004 and 2005, according to STATS LLC.
The Yankees, who led 5-0 after three innings, also swiped seven bases in seven tries off
, their most steals since they had eight at Oakland on June 2, 1996.
''We wanted to be aggressive today, get runs early,'' Yankees captain
said. ''Like I said in Anaheim, we're in the playoffs, but we haven't accomplished what we want.''
Ortiz added a two-run drive off Chamberlain and had three RBIs. Ortiz has 27 homers, all but one from June 6 on.
With New York 6 1/2 games in front of the
, and Boston seven games ahead of Texas in the wild-card race, there is little drama in the three-game series. New York would
clinch the division with a sweep, and Boston has a magic number of three for the wild card.
''If we're fortunate enough to keep playing, when this is over, nobody's going to care what happened,'' Francona said.
NOTES: The Yankees plan to start A.J. Burnett,
and Chamberlain against Kansas City next week. That would enable them to flip flop Burnett and
, with Burnett following CC Sabathia and starting Game 2 of the playoffs. ... Francona intended to start Varitek in two of
three games over the weekend, but might start Martinez behind the plate when
pitches Saturday. ... A-Rod has 93 RBIs. ... Martinez extended his hitting streak to 24 games. ... Panama President Ricardo
Martinelli threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Wearing a No. 42 jersey of
, he bounced the pitch to the Yankees' Panamanian closer. ... The crowd of 48,449 was just the sixth sellout in 76 games at
new Yankee Stadium - the others were on opening day and during the August sweep of the