He gave up individual runs in the third and sixth, both times with a walk leading to a run, but the A's couldn't do much else against him the rest of the night. He threw mostly fastball--79 of his 110 pitches--but also mixed in some curves and even threw nine changeups as he won his seventh game and moved back to .500.
Here's what Burnett had to say about his change of pace, which was inspired by Felix Hernandez's performance at the stadium a couple weeks ago:
"I hardly ever use it and [King Felix] was punching everybody out on it once he got ahead," Burnett said. "We just started using it last game against righties a couple of times, and now we used it to both tonight. We got a lot of outs. When I get ahead, they look curveball, so it gives me another weapon."With Burnett throwing the ball better and Javier Vazquez turning his season around, the Yankees have a very solid rotation, 1 thru 5. Great news for Yankees fans, and bad news for everyone else.
It wasn't a great night for the Yankees offense, who left the bases loaded in the first and went 3-for-13 with RISP and left 9 men on base, but they were able to put together a nice five-run fourth, and that was enough tonight. Also, all of those five runs were scored with two out.
Brett Gardner starting things off with a walk and then stole second. Ramiro Pena singled to drive him in, and then would move to second on a wild pitch. Derek Jeter then gave the Yankees their first lead of the night with an RBI single to make it 2-1. Nick Swisher, who had a great night, walked and then Mark Teixeira capped off the rally with a three-run homer, his 15th of the year.
Swisher drove in the Yankees sixth run when he blasted a solo homer in the sixth, his 14th of the year. Swisher also singled and double, to make it 3-for-4 on the night, with a walk and an RBI. Jeter and Pena also had multi-hit game. Jeter went 2-for-5, with an RBI and a run scored, and Pena 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
When Burnett left the game in the seventh the Yankees had a 6-2 lead and handed the ball to Damaso Marte. He needed 14 pitches (11 strikes) to get through a scoreless eighth.
Joba Chamberlain followed and needed just 9 pitches (8 strikes) to retire the side in the ninth and lock up the Yankees 53rd win of the season.
Down in Tampa, the Rays finished off their sweep of the Red Sox, so the Yankees remain two games ahead of them, but are now four and a half ahead of the Sox.
The Yanks head to Seattle for a four-game series with the Mariners to wrap up the first half. And yes, they will have to face both Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez. Again. Tonight, it will be Andy Pettitte vs. Jason Vargas in the opener. First pitch is 10:10 p.m. and the game will be on YES.