At what point in last night's game did you want to punch A.J. Burnett in the face?
After pitching so well for the month of July, A.J. started off August with one of his worst starts of the season. In 4.2, Burnett gave up 8 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks as his record fell to 9-9.
He was handed a 2-0 lead when Nick Swisher hit his 20th home run of the season, a two-run shot in the first off Jays starter Brandon Morrow. But he quickly gave one right back when Vernon Wells took him deep for a solo shot in the top of the second. After getting into and out of more trouble in the inning, Burnett settled down had two fairly easy innings. Then, things got ugly.
Instead of going through each at-bat of the inning, I'll turn things over to ESPN's play-by-play:
(click to enlarge)
Yes, that's six doubles. It tied an AL record.
The Yankees offense did battle back to make a game out of it. Mark Teixeira cut it to 8-4 with a 2-run homer in the bottom of the fifth. Lance Berkman drove in his first run as a Yankee with an RBI single in the sixth. And later, Nick Swisher hit his second homer of the game, a solo shot in the ninth to cut it to two. But that was as close as they'd come.
There were other opportunities along the way, but the Yanks went 1-for-8 with RISP and left 7 men on base. After Berkman's RBI single in the fifth, Marcus Thames singled off reliever Scott Downs' foot to put runners on the corners with one out. But Downs got both Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter on ground outs (Gardner's was comebacker and Berkman was forced out at the plate) and the Yankees didn't score.
In the eighth, the Yankees put two on with two out with Gardner coming up. Cito Gaston decided to go with left-hander David Purcey, so Joe Girardi countered with the right-handed Austin Kearns as a pinch-hitter. After working the count full, Kearns went down looking on a backdoor slider to end the inning.
What I want to know is why Kearns had to pinch-hit in this spot? I'm sure Girardi knows that Gardner is hitting better against lefties this year than Kearns, right? Besides that, the move also significantly weakened the outfield in the top of the ninth. Luckily, Joba kept the ball on the ground.
Besides the double Sergio Mitre allowed, the bullpen was actually very good tonight. Mitre, David Robertson, Boone Logan, and Joba Chamberlain combined to throw 4.1 scoreless innings and at least gave the Yankees a chance to come back. That comeback effort came to an end when Alex Rodriguez finished off his 0-for-5 night with a grounder to short.
Tampa beat Minnesota 4-2 last night so for the first time since June 19th, the Yankees will be sharing first place in the division. Let's hope they can get back in the W column tomorrow when Dustin Moseley faced left-hander Ricky Romero. First pitch is at 7:05 pm, and the game will be on YES.