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Chamberlain struggles in debut as a starter for Yankees

Joba Chamberlain struggled with his control, walked off the mound in the third inning and threw his glove in the dugout.

Joba Chamberlain struggled with his control, walked off the mound in the third inning and threw his glove in the dugout.

His first major league start was a memorable one, all right. Just not for the reasons he'd hoped.

Chamberlain lasted only 2 1/3 innings and Roy Halladay held the host New York Yankees in check despite some control problems of his own, leading the Toronto Blue Jays to a 9-3 victory last night.

Alex Rios extended his hitting streak against the Yankees to 24 games and David Eckstein had three RBI for Toronto.

A sellout crowd of 53,629 that included Chamberlain's father, Harlan, roared as the hard-throwing righthander was introduced with the starting lineup and gave the youngster a standing ovation before he threw his first pitch.

His initial offering to leadoff hitter Shannon Stewart was a ball - a sign of things to come. Chamberlain touched 101 mph on the Yankee Stadium scoreboard, but walked three and threw 38 pitches in the first as Toronto took a 1-0 lead on Rios' groundout.

Chamberlain retired the side in order in the second and got Marco Scutaro to fly out to right to begin the third. But Rios walked on four straight balls.

"Tonight was a creation of the media," said team co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner, who watched the game at the Yankees' facility in Tampa, Fla. "If this had been a first start for any other pitcher on any other team, it wouldn't have been such a big deal."

In other games:

* At Chicago, Carlos Quentin, A.J. Pierzynski, Nick Swisher and Alexei Ramirez homered and the White Sox beat the Kansas City Royals, 9-5.

* At Boston, Coco Crisp hit a tiebreaking double and the Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 7-4.

* At Minneapolis, Radhames Liz allowed two runs and four hits in 3 1/3 innings in his season debut as Baltimore beat the Twins, 5-4.

* At Seattle, Maicer Izturis drove in three runs on two singles as the Los Angeles Angels beat the Mariners, 5-3.

* At Arlington, Texas, Milton Bradley homered twice and the Rangers also got homers from Josh Hamilton, David Murphy and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in a 12-7 win over the Cleveland Indians.


* Red Sox slugger David Ortiz expects to wear a cast on his left wrist for 2 to 3 weeks in hopes that the torn sheath, which surrounds a tendon, will heal sufficiently to get him back in the lineup soon.

* Indians pitcher Jake Westbrook (inflamed elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list. *