Griffey, M's have enough to get past Yanks
When he was younger, Ken Griffey Jr. put a higher premium on beating the New York Yankees.
Even now at 39, Griffey still has a little something left for them.
Griffey homered and drove in a season-high four runs Sunday, putting the Yankees' playoff party on hold by leading the Seattle Mariners to a 7-1 victory.
The loss prevented New York from clinching a spot in the postseason. The Yankees can secure their 14th playoff berth in 15 years with a victory at the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night or a Texas loss at Oakland.
"I didn't really pay attention. I think you all paid more attention to it than I did. Maybe younger I might have," said Griffey, who later admitted he knew the Yankees could have wrapped up a playoff berth Sunday. "Right now, I'm not. (We're) just trying to get the wins and whoever is out there just happens to be out there."
This time it was Joba Chamberlain who was added to Griffey's ledger. Griffey lined an RBI double in the first inning, then cracked a three-run shot in the second off Chamberlain, making him the 405th pitcher to give up a homer to Griffey.
Seattle took two of three from the Yankees, who lead the AL East by five games over Boston with 12 to play. One more win - or a Rangers loss - assures New York of at least the wild card.
It was Griffey's first four-RBI game since July 10, 2008, with Cincinnati. Griffey also doubled and homered in that game against the Chicago Cubs.
"I let my teammates down. It was pretty much embarrassing what I did, not being able to pick my team up and get out of here with a series win," Chamberlain said. "It will take more than this to get my confidence level down. You can kick me as much as you want but I will come back fighting every time."
This performance was not what the Yankees wanted to see out of Chamberlain with the playoffs approaching. The burly right-hander knew before the game that he'd be given the opportunity in this start to potentially get the victory and pitch five innings. He lasted only three. Chamberlain (8-6) gave up six hits, walked three and barely threw more strikes than balls.
"He is a young starter. We've seen him really good and we've seen him struggle," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "As I said, he is one of the guys that got us to this point and we'll continue to go with Joba for right now."
It was a struggle from the start for Chamberlain - and concerning for Girardi because he said he expects the righty to be the Yankees' fourth starter heading into the playoffs.
Chamberlain gave up consecutive two-out doubles in the first to Jose Lopez and Griffey, then allowed a dribbling grounder to center by Adrian Beltre to score Griffey for a 2-0 Seattle lead.
In the second, Chamberlain allowed back-to-back singles by Mike Carp and Adam Moore - his first major league hit - and intentionally walked Ichiro Suzuki with one out. Chamberlain lost Franklin Gutierrez on a 3-2 pitch to force in one run and Lopez followed with a sacrifice fly.
Chamberlain had a chance to escape the inning with just two runs, getting ahead of Griffey in the count 1-2. He tried sneaking a down-and-in fastball past Griffey, but the veteran slugger was waiting and dropped the barrel of the bat for his 627th career homer and 16th this season.
"When (Griffey) hits a ball like he did today, you don't see age," Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu. "That's a beautiful swing."
That was plenty for Mariners starter Ian Snell. A night after Seattle pitching was battered for 10 runs and 18 hits by the Yankees, Snell worked 5 1-3 efficient innings, allowing just four hits and one run. New York's only run came in the sixth when Jorge Posada, back from a three-game suspension for fighting, served a double down the left-field line to score Mark Teixeira, who opened the inning with a double.
Teixeira had three hits Sunday and was 7 for 9 with two doubles, a triple and two homers in the final two games of the series.
Snell (5-2) joined Seattle in a deal with Pittsburgh just before the July 31 trade deadline. The right-hander is 6-10 overall this season.
Girardi said CC Sabathia has just a little red mark on his upper chest after taking a line drive off Gutierrez's bat in the fifth inning Saturday night. ... Seattle C Kenji Johjima was originally in the lineup but was removed because of soreness in his left knee after taking a foul tip off his leg Saturday night. ... Girardi said RHP Chad Gaudin is considered the team's fifth starter as the playoffs approach, with the move of RHP Sergio Mitre to the bullpen. Gaudin will start for the Yankees on Tuesday against the Angels.