Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Joba Chamberlain dominates as the Yankees win the rubber game from the Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays watch a rally die against the Yankees bullpen in the ninth inning, the only noise their offense made all game.


The Rays watch a rally die against the Yankees bullpen in the ninth inning, the only noise their offense made all game.

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays are willing to defend their honor. Their division title, maybe not so much.

Wednesday's 6-2 loss meant they lost the series and dropped 7½ games behind the first-place Yankees, though the Rays continued to spew confidence afterward that they can catch them over the 60 remaining games and win the AL East.

"Absolutely," manager Joe Maddon said. "We're right there with them. I think the two teams are really closely matched."

"They have a lot of weaknesses," pitcher Matt Garza said. "They have a lot of strengths, too. But we've just got to keep grinding it out. They've been hot, and hot teams turn cold. And cold teams turn hot. So we'll see how it turns out."

The Rays (55-47) weren't too convincing on the field Wednesday, shut down and shut out over eight innings by a sizzling Joba Chamberlain, and unable to contain the Yankees, who grabbed the early lead and built on it with three homers after an increasingly rare pregame visit from owner George Steinbrenner.

"The Boss was in town today," outfielder Nick Swisher said, "so we really didn't have a choice."

Chamberlain delivered what both clubhouses said may have been his best outing, allowing the Rays just three singles. Garza, not as sharp as in his Friday night duel with the Jays' Roy Halladay, allowed a season-high eight hits and three runs over seven innings.

He got a little excited — like when he flung Hideki Matsui's bat toward the dugout — but he also showed the most spunk.

Noting the Yankees had thrown in on and hit Evan Longoria on Monday, Garza acknowledged retaliating by hitting Mark Teixeira an inning after Chamberlain threw at Longoria's head and knocked him down in the fourth.

"I just kind of got tired of people brushing him back," Garza said. "It's about time someone made a statement. They did it on Monday night and we didn't do anything, they didn't do it too much (Tuesday) and (Chamberlain) did it again tonight.

"I hate to be that guy, but someone had to take a stand and say, 'You know, we're tired of it.' You can go after our best guy, well, we'll make some noise too, and that's what happened."

Longoria called it part of the game but didn't like the location of the pitch, and he appreciated Garza having his back — "You would hope everybody would do that." (He also retaliated on his own with a two-run homer in the ninth.) Teixeira said he didn't have a problem with it. Chamberlain didn't seem to care.

"That's just the game, man," he said. "Longoria is great, there's no getting around it. He has, like, 22 homers already or something, so you just have to be aggressive with him. If that's what he feels, he did what he needed to do, and at the end of the day, we won the ball game. And that's really all that matters."

In a way, he's right. And with little activity expected before Friday's nonwaiver trade deadline, Maddon said the challenge of making up the ground on the Yankees (who have won 11 of 13 since the All-Star break) — or at least catching the Red Sox, whom they trail by four games in the wild-card race — is right in front of them.

"The guys that are here have to do it," he said. "I believe in them. I said at the beginning of the season, I thought as a group it was a better group overall than what we had last year, and I still stand by that.

"We just have to get it out of the group that's here. And it's in there. It's definitely in there."

Marc Topkin can be reached at

Joba Chamberlain dominates as the Yankees win the rubber game from the Tampa Bay Rays 07/29/09 [Last modified: Saturday, August 1, 2009 1:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Rays at Orioles, with Cobb on hill, Beckham in lineup


    UPDATE, 3:46: After sitting out Thursday in recovering from extraction of a tooth, former Rays SS Tim Beckham is in the Orioles lineup tonight for his first game against his ex-mates, batting leadoff and playing short.

  2. Bucs defensive end Chris Baker (90) is seen during training camp last month at One Buc Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Bucs' defensive attributes in opener included flexibility


    TAMPA — It's a blink-and-you-miss-it nuance, but in Sunday's opener against Chicago, on their very first defensive snap, the Bucs lined up in a 3-4 defense.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter shakes hands with cornerback Brent Grimes (24) before an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times 

  4. Bucs-Vikings: What if O.J. Howard and Dalvin Cook had both been taken?


    So what if the Bucs had taken neither O.J. Howard nor Dalvin Cook with the 19th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft?

    Bucs tight end O.J. Howard (80) makes a reception as Chicago Bears free safety Eddie Jackson (39) tackles him Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Wish the Bucs had taken Dalvin Cook? Read this


    It will happen sometime Sunday afternoon.

    Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) carries the ball in the second quarter Monday night, Sept. 11, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn.  (Jeff Wheeler/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)