He wasn't talking about the weather.
Chacon pitched out of trouble for much of a raw, cold afternoon
and resembled the pitcher who helped save the Yankees last year,
leading New York over the Baltimore Orioles 6-1 Saturday.
Making his first start in 10 days, Chacon (2-1) gave up one run
and four hits in seven innings, lowering his ERA from 8.03 to 5.59.
"He needed it. I think the team needed it," Alex Rodriguez
Chacon allowed runners in four of his first five innings before
settling down to retire his final eight batters.
"Throughout the game, I always just keep in mind you're one
pitch away from getting out of a jam," he said. "There's going to
be days when I don't put myself in jams and it's a little smoother,
but I take all the confidence in the world knowing I can get out of
Trailing 2-0, Baltimore loaded the bases with one out in the
fifth. Tejada hit a sacrifice fly before Chacon snagged Gibbons'
"He was coming right at us. He was challenging us," Gibbons
said. "I felt we let him off the hook a couple of times, but he
threw pretty good."
Chacon's chances to start have been limited in the early weeks
of the season because of off days. In his prior starts, he gave up
first-inning homers to the Los Angeles Angels' Orlando Cabrera and
Kansas City's Reggie Sanders.
"Not giving up two-run homers in the first inning, that's
always a bonus," Chacon said.
While he was low-key about his performance, Yankees manager Joe
Torre said it gave the pitcher a mental lift.
"He was pretty proud of himself when he got out of there,"
Hideki Matsui got the big hit, a bases-loaded double that put
the Yankees ahead 4-1 and chased Daniel Cabrera (1-2) with none out
in the sixth inning, just before the rain resumed. The hit ended
New York's 0-for-16 slide with the bases loaded.
On Friday night, Matsui took a called third strike on a 3-2
pitch with the bases loaded, ending New York's 6-5 loss. He wasn't
thinking about that when he came up Saturday.
"The game could have gone either way at that point in time,"
he said through a translator.
It was only 48 degrees at gametime -- it felt colder -- and both
starters had trouble gripping their breaking balls. Baltimore
manager Sam Perlozzo was bothered that Cabrera didn't throw his
curveball much in the early innings.
Cabrera, who entered with an AL-high 17 walks, displayed a great
fastball -- he threw a 98 mph pitch past Gary Sheffield in the first
-- but once again struggled with his command. He gave up six runs,
five hits and five walks in five-plus innings, striking out five.
His ERA jumped to 6.87.
"People have been talking about walks -- I walked people all my
life. It's not new," Cabrera said. "I just try to throw strikes,
and sometimes I don't."
Derek Jeter's RBI single in the third and Bernie Williams'
sacrifice fly in the fourth built the 2-0 lead. After Matsui's hit
in the four-run sixth, many of the remaining fans left -- the
announced attendance was 50,872 but the crowd at its maximum
appeared less than half that.
Johnny Damon hit a run-scoring infield single off John Halama
that Tejada made a diving stop on in the shortstop hole but
couldn't hold on to. Eddy Rodriguez came in and walked Jeter with
the bases loaded.
Messy runs on a messy day.
"Those conditions out there were absolutely nasty," Alex
In one of those meaningless baseball oddities, the Yankees
are 7-0 in day games and 1-8 at night. ... Brian Roberts'
third-inning steal made the Orioles 15-for-15 on stolen-base
attempts this year. ... Chacon hadn't allowed a steal in his
previous 17 appearances. ... Yankees C Kelly Stinnett grabbed Corey
Patterson's fourth-inning foul ball on the third try, letting it
pop up off his mitt twice.