Joba among Ichiro's admirers

Joba among Ichiro's admirers

NEW YORK -- Joba Chamberlain got his first up-close-and-personal experience with the Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki on Friday. After one at-bat and a convincing base hit, color the 22-year-old right-hander impressed.

"You don't know how to pitch him," Chamberlain said. "He looks like he's going to be doing one thing, and then he hits it [another way]. He's the best at what he does for a reason."

Chamberlain seemed more taken with Ichiro's sixth-inning at-bat against starter Chien-Ming Wang. Leading off the inning, Ichiro flailed badly at a changeup and fouled off a slider before looking at a fastball then serving another tough changeup into center field for a single that -- after two stolen bases and a groundout -- produced Seattle's only run.

Chamberlain's battle with Ichiro came in the eighth inning of the Yankees' 5-1 victory on Friday, when he allowed a single on a 2-2 pitch. After getting ahead, 1-2, Chamberlain fired a ball past Ichiro before the center fielder connected on a slider, dumping it into shallow center for a hit.

"That was a good pitch," Chamberlain said. "You just take your hat off. There's nothing you can do. I mean, you attack the outer third and he looks foolish, and then you think, 'OK, I'm going to come in.' He breaks his bat and flares one. What are you going to do?"

The Yankees haven't been able to figure out that answer just yet. After going 2-for-4 on Friday, Ichiro owns a .352 (50-for-142) career average at Yankee Stadium and has hit safely in 29 of his 32 games in the Bronx.

"There's no words to describe that guy -- he's unbelievable," Chamberlain said.

Pitching matchup
NYY: RHP Mike Mussina (3-3, 4.73 ERA)
Mussina limited the Indians to two runs over five innings on Monday, winning his second consecutive start. The 39-year-old right-hander blanked Cleveland for the first four frames before being touched twice on four hits in the fifth inning, surrendering four consecutive singles -- including a run-scoring hit to Jason Michaels -- and a sacrifice fly to Travis Hafner. Mussina had to work hard just to get through five innings and 92 pitches at Progressive Field, but the veteran righty said he was satisfied with his damage control in the fifth.

SEA: RHP Felix Hernandez (2-1, 2.22 ERA)
Hernandez fired seven shutout innings in his last start, against the A's, before running into trouble in the eighth. The 22-year-old right-hander suffered his first loss of the season after allowing four runs in the inning without recording an out, raising his ERA to 2.22. Hernandez struck out 10 Oakland batters in the seven-plus-inning outing, increasing his season total to 41 in 46 2/3 innings. Hernandez has worked into the seventh inning in each of his six starts this season. In his only appearance against the Yankees, in 2007, Hernandez allowed one run on five hits in seven innings for the victory.

Tidbits
Derek Jeter scored in the first inning on Friday, giving him 1,391 runs scored for his career, surpassing Joe DiMaggio for fourth place on the Yankees' all-time list. ... Hideki Matsui is riding a 12-game hitting streak. ... Mariano Rivera has appeared in 798 career games, surpassing Rick Honeycutt and tying Jeff Nelson for 39th place on baseball's all-time list.

Tickets
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On the Internet
 MLB.TV
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On television
• YES

On radio
• WCBS 880, WNSW 1430 (Español)

Up next
• Sunday: Yankees (Darrell Rasner, 2008 debut) vs. Mariners (Carlos Silva, 3-0, 2.79), 1:05 p.m. ET
• Monday: Off-day
• Tuesday: Yankees (Andy Pettitte, 3-3, 3.93) vs. Indians (Fausto Carmona, 3-1, 2.60), 7:05 p.m. ET

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.