Joba gives up go-ahead homer in loss

May 6, 2008 7:44:06 PM PDT
Pinch-hitter David Dellucci stunned the New York Yankees with a go-ahead homer off Joba Chamberlain, and the Cleveland Indians rallied for a 5-3 victory Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game series. Dellucci's three-run shot with two outs in the eighth inning spoiled a strong start by Andy Pettitte and boosted a Cleveland offense that's been struggling mightily at the plate.

It was only the second home run allowed in 37 career innings by Chamberlain, the hard-throwing reliever who has been nearly unhittable since reaching the majors last August. Boston's Mike Lowell hit the other one on Sept. 16.

Jhonny Peralta hit a two-run homer off Pettitte, but the Yankees built a 3-2 lead against Fausto Carmona on two RBIs from Jason Giambi and a go-ahead single by Robinson Cano - both mired in miserable slumps all season.

Chamberlain (1-2) entered in the eighth to protect it, and never looked right.

He walked leadoff batter Grady Sizemore, then issued a free pass to Peralta with one out. After Ryan Garko flied out, Dellucci batted for Franklin Gutierrez and lofted an 0-1 delivery onto the short porch in right for his 10th career pinch-hit homer and first since June 2006 for Philadelphia against the New York Mets.

Rafael Perez (1-1) tossed two scoreless innings for the win. Jensen Lewis worked a one-hit eighth and Rafael Betancourt got three quick outs for his third save.

The Yankees fell to 15-1 when leading after seven innings this season. They are 26-5 when Chamberlain pitches.

Cleveland played without All-Star catcher Victor Martinez, scratched during batting practice with a stiff neck. He is day to day.

The Indians eliminated New York in the first round of the AL playoffs last October, when Chamberlain was famously pestered by those tiny midges while blowing an eighth-inning lead in Game 2. The teams split a four-game set in Cleveland late last month.

Left-hander Cliff Lee (5-0, 0.96 ERA) pitches against Yankees ace Chien-Ming Wang (6-0, 3.00 ERA) in a marquee matchup Wednesday night.

Hideki Matsui went 3-for-3 with a walk for New York, extending his team-best hitting streak to 15 games.

Carmona, a 19-game winner last season who dominated the Yankees in last year's playoffs, has struggled with his control this season. He walked five in five innings Tuesday night, yielding three runs and six hits.

Making his 400th career start, Pettitte was in line to tie Bob Shawkey for fifth place on the franchise wins list at 168 before Chamberlain squandered the lead.

The left-hander lost his previous two starts, including one in Cleveland, but left to a standing ovation with one out in the seventh and received a pat on the back from injured Alex Rodriguez when he reached the dugout.

Sizemore kept the score 3-2 by making a diving catch of Johnny Damon's drive to left-center with two on to end the fourth.

Gutierrez helped thwart a New York rally in the fifth when he threw out Bobby Abreu trying to go from first to third on Matsui's single to right. Yankees manager Joe Girardi jogged out of the dugout for a brief argument with umpire Sam Holbrook, then walked away shaking his head.