The Yankees moved to ten games over .500 with their 4-1 win over Baltimore at the stadium last night. A.J. Burnett continued his hot start with 7.1 innings of one run baseball. He also had what was probably his best curveball of the season.
The Orioles run came in the third, but the inning was also the turning point in the game Burnett and the Yankees. Garrett Atkins started the inning with a single and Ryhne Hughes walked ot put two on with nobody out. Cesar Izturis then put down a sac bunt, but Burnett threw the ball into foul territory allowing a run to score and the runner to move up to 2nd and 3rd, still with nobody out. Then came the turning point. Burnett got over his error quickly, and struck out Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, and Matt Wieters to get out of the jam. He rolled from there. When he left the game in the eighth he had allowed just that one run on five hits, walked two, and struck out eight on his way to his fourth win of the season.
The Yankees answered the Orioles run with one of their own in the bottom half of the third. Francisco Cervelli, who had a great game, led off the inning by lining a ball past a diving Adam Jones for a triple. He would later score on a Ramiro Pena RBI groundout. Cervelli ended up going 3-for-3 with a sac bunt and two runs scored, and also made a nice catch on a foul popup as he fell into the Yankees dugout. Nobody wants to see Jorge Posada hurt, but at least the Yankees have a player that can fill in and give them games like this. Cervelli is now hitting .387 this season.
They'd take the lead for good with two runs in the fifth. This inning was very similar to the O's third. Brett Gardner led off with a walk and Cervelli singled to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Pena then laid down a sac bunt and now it was time for O's starter Brian Matusz to throw a ball away. Gardner scored and the runners moved up to second and third. Later in the inning Mark Teixeira walked with two out to load the bases, and Alex Rodriguez followed with a walk of his own to force in the Yankees third run.
The Yanks added their fourth run three innings later, and once again it was Cervelli, Gardner, and Pena. Gardner singled and stole second, Cervelli moved him over with a sac bunt, and Pena drove him in with a sac fly. The Yankees 7-8-9 hitters combined to go 4-for-8 with two RBI, a walk, and four runs scored. The rest of the lineup combined for four hits total, and two of those came off the bat of Robbie Cano. Derek Jeter and Marcus Thames picked up the other two hits for the Yanks.
After Burnett left the game with one on and one out in the eighth, Damaso Marte and Alfredo Aceves came in to finish off the inning. Joe Girardi decided to give Mariano Rivera another night off--he'll probably get tomorrow off as well--so Joba Chamberlain pitched the ninth. He struck out two and allowed a single in a scoreless inning to pick up his second save of the season. It was also another good day for Joba's velocity. Tonight, his fastball was averaging 94 mph and topped out at 96.4.
Tonight's win gave the Yanks their eighth series win in nine chances, and they go for the sweep tomorrow afernoon with Andy Pettitte on the mound. David Hernandez will make the start for the O's. First pitch is 1:05 p.m. and the game will be on YES.