After a terrible June, it looks like A.J. Burnett has regained his early season form in July. Including last night's gem, A.J. is now 3-1, with a 2.00 ERA this month, and in three of his five starts hasn't even allowed a run. This is huge for the Yankees who need AJ to continue to pitch well while Andy Pettitte recovers from his groin strain.
Last night, the right-hander held Cleveland off the board for 6.1 innings, allowed 7 hits, walked 3, and struck out 7. As is normally the case when A.J. pitches well, he had his curveball working and he was throwing his fastball for strikes. Of his 114 pitches, 75 found the strike zone.
Cleveland did have their chances to put a couple runs across, but for the night they went 0-for-10 with RISP and left 9 men on base. (I believe six of those ABs with RISP came against Burnett.)
Even with the baserunners, it had to be a pretty stress-free outing for A.J., who had an 8-0 lead after three and a half. The Yankees offense pounded Fausto Carmona, who spent most of the first three innings leaving his sinker up in the zone and paying for it.
Alex Rodriguez didn't hit 600, but he did pick up two hits, including a first-inning RBI single to put the Yankees on the board. It was his 82nd RBI of the season, which is good enough for second in baseball behind only Miguel Cabrera.
Brett Gardner made it 2-0 in the second with an RBI single to score Curtis Granderson. Granderson almost got thrown out at home, but thanks to a great slide was able to avoid the tag. Mark Teixeira added two more to the Yankees total with a two-run single.
They'd add three more in the 3rd and another in the 4th to bring their total to 8. Granderson, Gardner, Nick Swisher, and Robinson Cano would drive in the rest of the Yankees runs. Cano's came on his 19th homer of the season, a solo shot in the 4th.
After Burnett left, the bullpen did their job. Joba Chamberlain retired the only two batters he faced in the 7th, and then Sergio Mitre took care of the final two.
64 wins for the Yankees now, who maintained a two game lead over the Rays. They go for three out of four from the Tribe tonight in Cleveland. Dustin Moseley makes his first start of the year for the Yankees, with Mitch Talbot going for Cleveland. First pitch is 7:10 p.m. and the game will be on YES.