New York Yankees' Joba Chamberlain (62) pitches to the Baltimore...

New York Yankees' Joba Chamberlain (62) pitches to the Baltimore Orioles in the eighth inning. (June 1, 2010) Credit: John Dunn

With one pitch, it looked as if the old Joba was back.

The Yankees' eighth-inning guy hurled a 95-mph fastball down the middle to Cesar Izturis, effectively setting the tone for his 1-2-3 scoreless inning against the Baltimore Orioles.

It was his small, but much-needed, contribution toward the Yankees' 3-1 victory at the Stadium last night, given how far Chamberlain has fallen from grace this season.

The much-adored reliever had given up 15 runs in 212/3 innings heading into last night's game, including four runs and four hits in a third of an inning in Saturday's crushing 13-11 loss to Cleveland. Chamberlain had entered the ballgame with two outs and a four-run lead in the seventh, but struggled to put the inning away.

"That's the greatest thing about being in the bullpen," he said of his last start. "You get to have a short-term memory and understand what you need to do to be successful when you get back out there. Good or bad you're anxious to get out there."

Last night, the 24-year-old righthander carried his 5.82 ERA onto the mound and quickly disposed of the three Orioles he faced, retiring Izturis and Corey Patterson on flyouts to centerfield before getting Miguel Tejada to ground out to first base to end the inning.

He was sharp, effective and in control. Just like the Joba of old.

"Sometimes you don't have it," said Chamberlain, who threw just eight pitches in the inning and lowered his ERA to 5.56. "And you have to figure out how to get it done. You're not always going to feel great, but you have to find a way to get it done. Just continue to grow and learn."

Joe Girardi said he was pleased, but not surprised, by Chamberlain's effectiveness.

"He was good, aggressive, he threw strikes," Girardi said, "He's had some hiccups but I had a lot of confidence he'd bounce back and do his job."

Said Chamberlain: "It's a process. You never quite get there but I've got great teachers around me from the starters to the bullpen to the coaches. You just got to go out and keep getting better."

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