Before I get to the game itself, did anyone else hear Kim Jones' report during the game about A.J. Burnett and some of his quotes about his recent struggles?
I don't have the exact quotes, but he basically said he's been awful and this is something he's had to deal with every year, which is why he's a .500 pitcher (his words). He also said it wasn't anyone's fault but his own. Specifically, he said it had nothing to do with Harkey replacing Eiland or Posada behind the plate. He also said he never felt comfortable on the mound last night until the last batter he faced. It was a very honest interview from A.J. and I give him of credit for it. It obviously doesn't make up for his last four starts, but at least he's not making any excuses and took all of the responsibility.
On to the game... The Yankees jumped out to an early 2-0 lead when Alex Rodriguez blasted his ninth homer of the year in the first, a two-run shot off Dan Haren. It was a big homer for A-Rod, who has been missing his power stroke so far this year. Maybe this is a sign of things to come.
Andy Pettitte was very good once again tonight, but he did get into some trouble in the second and allowed Arizona to tie the game. Justin Upton led off with a single. Then, after Chris Young struck out, Upton was erased when Andy picked him off--It was actually scored a caught stealing because Upton ran to second. Either way, it would loom large, because the next two batters, Adam LaRoche and Mark Reynolds, would walk and double to put runners on second and third. Pettitte then got a little too cute with the no. 8 hitter Chris Snyder and walked him to face the pitcher, Dan Haren.
Normally it's a good thing when the pitcher hits, but not Haren, who came into the game hitting over .400 on the season. He brought that average up when he grounded an 0-2 pitch down the first base line for a two-run single. Pettitte would get the next batter, but the game was tied and had it not been for that caught stealing the Yankees would likely have been down.
However, that was all he'd give up on the night, and held Arizona to just four singles for the rest of the night. Pettitte would last seven, allowing those two runs on seven hits, walked two, and struck out seven on his way to his ninth win of the year.
As for the rest of the Yankees offense, they gave Andy the lead right back with a run in the third. on an RBI single by A-Rod. Both starters would settle down and the score would remain 3-2 until the top of the eighth when the Yankees exploded for six runs and put the game away. Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson had RBI singles in the inning. Jorge Posada drove in a run with a sac fly. And Colin Curtis capped off the rally with his first big league hit, a two-run double.
Joba Chamberlain came in for the bottom half of the inning, and looked very good. He did walk Stephen Drew to leadoff the inning, but then retired the next three batters he faced, two of which were on strikeouts. I know velocity isn't everything, but tonight he had it. His fastball was averaging 96.5 MPH and topped out at 97.8. He also had a very good slider and even mixed in a couple curveballs.
It was a rough ninth for David Robertson, who allowed a run on two hits, but he eventually got through the inning and the Yankees had their 44th win of the year.
All around it was a very nice win for the Yankees, who are now a game and a half up in the division because Boston and Tampa both lost last night.
The Yankees and Dbacks play the rubber game tomorrow night in AZ with Javier Vazquez facing Dontrelle Willis. First pitch is at 9:40 p.m. and the game will be on YES.