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Girardi on Joba: still the one

Just like that Javier Vazquez most complete start of the season was wasted.

"It's part of the game," Vazquez said afterward.

"I didn't do the job," Joba Chamberlain said.

Not even close.

Given a 1-0 lead to protect in the eighth tonight, it all came apart for Chamberlain as his first pitch got sent into center for a hit and, later in the inning, a 96-mph 2-and-0 fastball that he left up was hammered over the wall in left for a grand slam by Jose Lopez.

“I definitely let Javy down,” Chamberlain said. “It was tremendous the way he went out and pitched. I have to go out there and protect that one-run lead for all the hard work he did.”

Chamberlain's ERA rose to 5.79 in seeing an odd season continue. In five of his appearances, he has allowed 17 earned runs in a total of three innings. In his other 34 appearances, he has allowed seven earned runs in 341/3 innings.

“He was struggling with his command tonight,” Girardi said. “We talk about when Joba struggles with his command, those are the nights that are usually a little rough for him.”

Chamberlain hasn't come close to nailing down the eighth-inning role the way Phil Hughes did last year -- and Hughes very well might have found himself back in that role had the Cliff Lee trade gone through -- but Girardi said he's not considering other options.

"As we go forward I would like to have an eighth-inning guy so when that phone rings guys know they're the guy," Girardi said. "I'd like to stay with one guy...I'm going to send him back out there, that's what I'm going to do."

Vazquez, meanwhile, was tremendous in holding the Mariners hitless for 5 2/3 innings and to three hits and no runs in outdueling Felix Hernandez for seven innings.

"His changeup was dynamite tonight," Girardi said.

“I definitely felt great out there,” Vazquez said. “I located really well tonight. A lot of my pitches were working good tonight. It’s probably the best game, at least location wise, I’ve had [this season].”

Big picture, the Yankees are still 5-1 on this trip and can still go into the All-Star break on a high note tomorrow afternoon as CC Sabathia (11-3, 3.19) takes on Ryan Rowland-Smith.

New York Sports