Yankees 6, Reds 3

BY foxsports • March 31, 2009

This time, Joba Chamberlain stuck around. Chamberlain pitched into the sixth inning Tuesday, a step forward in his development as a starter, and the New York Yankees took advantage of four Cincinnati errors in a 6-3 victory over the Reds, who played the last few innings without their ejected manager. The Yankees wanted Chamberlain to pitch six innings for the first time this spring, and he came close. The right-hander allowed five hits and two runs in 5 1-3 innings, leaving after the Reds scored twice. "Good," Chamberlain said. "It's still got to get better. Velocity and attacking the (strike) zone, I felt good. It was something to build on." The Yankees' fifth starter hadn't lasted longer than 4 1-3 innings in any of his five previous games this spring, going a total of 14 2-3 innings. It was Chamberlain's final chance to pitch deeper into a game, and he did what the Yankees wanted, striking out six along the way. "It's what we wanted to see from him," manager Joe Girardi said. "A good step. He was pretty good today. He was anywhere between 90-96 (mph) today." Chamberlain began last season in the bullpen, then moved into the rotation in late May and made 12 starts. He wound up leading all AL rookies in ERA (2.60) and was second with 118 strikeouts. "Here's a young man who started for a couple months (last season)," Girardi said. "I think because he was dominating out of the 'pen, I think people expected him to pitch like that every inning as a starter. It's not going to happen. Joba has so many expectations on him and I'm not sure he can live up to the expectations. "He has a chance to be a top-end starter, which we all know is very hard to come by. He has that potential." Chamberlain has been inconsistent this spring, which made his appearance on Tuesday reassuring. "A little bit of a roller coaster," general manager Brian Cashman said, describing his performances. "Early on, the velocity was down. Then he was up. His last outing, he reverted a little bit back. He says he feels fantastic. "I know last spring he was very unimpressive, and when it was lights, camera, action, it was game on. Some people are that way." Melky Cabrera drove in three runs with a double and a sacrifice fly, leading a lineup that got plenty of help from Cincinnati's defense. Reds manager Dusty Baker was ejected by plate umpire D.J. Reyburn following a heated argument in the sixth inning. It was an unusual outburst by Baker, who was ejected only once last season. The blowup came after someone in the Reds dugout yelled something at Reyburn, who turned and said something back. Baker, who was seated next to the dugout on a folding chair, got into an animated exchange with the umpire and was ejected. Instead of leaving the field immediately - Baker would have had to walk along the right-field foul line and leave through a gate - he told crew chief Charlie Reliford that he was going to watch the rest of the inning from the dugout. "I said, 'Hey, man, I ain't leaving right now because I ain't walking down there," Baker said. "It's a long walk. I wasn't going to hold up the game. I told Charlie I'll leave after the inning." Micah Owings gave up four runs - only one of them earned - and six hits in five-plus innings, striking out five. Owings is in line to be the fifth starter, although Baker hasn't made it official. "I haven't heard yet," Owings said. "I know that stuff takes care of itself." Notes: Yankees DH Hideki Matsui was limited in drills by a stiff neck. Girardi said Matsui could play on Wednesday. ... Yankees RF Xavier Nady said he was OK after being hit on the left elbow by a pitch in the sixth. He left the game with a bruise. ... Yankees closer Mariano Rivera retired five batters and gave up a home run in a minor league game. ... The Reds traded SS Jeff Keppinger to the Houston Astros for a player to be named. Keppinger started 101 games at shortstop last season, when Alex Gonzalez was hurt. Keppinger batted only .140 this spring. ... Reds 3B Edwin Encarnacion, limited since March 21 by a sore throwing shoulder, was back in the lineup and went 0-for-3.

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