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Friday, September 6, 2013
Joba on blown call: Replay speaks for itself

By Mike Mazzeo

NEW YORK -- Yankees right-hander Joba Chamberlain thought it was a strike. So did his batterymate, Austin Romine.

But the only person whose opinion actually mattered, first-base umpire Joe West, disagreed.

With one out and Jacoby Ellsbury on second base in the bottom of the 10th inning, Chamberlain threw Shane Victorino a 2-2 slider. Victorino appeared to go too far on a check swing.

But West didn’t see it that way.

And on the very next pitch -- a 96 mph fastball -- Victorino lined an RBI single to right-center field that proved to be the winning run in a crushing 9-8 loss on Friday night at the Stadium.

Joba Chamberlain
Joba Chamberlain allowed the decisive run in the Yankees' 9-8 loss to the rival Red Sox on Thursday.
“Y’all saw the replay. It kind of speaks for itself,” said Chamberlain, who was ejected by West after being lifted following the hit.

“I thought he swung. I thought that was a pretty key moment in the game, and I thought he swung,” added Romine, who noted he had not seen the replay.

Asked what he said to West to get run, Chamberlain replied, “Enough to get ejected.”

Chamberlain said he wanted to elevate the fastball after seeing Victorino move up in the batter’s box, but couldn’t execute the pitch.

“It’s frustrating,” he said.

Yankees fans were extremely frustrated the moment they saw Chamberlain trot out of the bullpen for the 10th, but manager Joe Girardi essentially had nowhere else to turn. Shawn Kelley was unavailable due to a triceps issue, while Girardi said he didn’t want to bring Phil Hughes, who was just removed from the rotation, into the game in that spot.

So Chamberlain, who served up a three-run home run Sunday against Baltimore, was brought into another high-leverage situation and couldn’t deliver.

The Yankees had a chance to cut down Ellsbury at the plate, but Romine, who made two poor throws to second on Red Sox steal attempts, couldn’t handle Ichiro Suzuki’s short-hop throw.

“I knew he was coming around third pretty quick. And I was trying to block the plate,” said Romine, adding that he felt like he let the team down. “The throw kind of short-hopped me a little bit, and I tried the best I could to pick it. I just didn’t get a good glove on it.”

The Yankees had rallied back from a 7-2 deficit, scoring six runs during a 34-minute seventh inning. But Mariano Rivera was unable to hold the lead -- blowing his 15th career save against the Red Sox -- and eventually, Girardi waved what felt like a big white flag, inserting Chamberlain.

It may not be a season-ending loss, but it was crushing nonetheless.

“We battled back. We did everything we needed to do to get a win,” Chamberlain said.

But all they got for their efforts was a 4-hour, 32-minute defeat.