Burnett gets 1st August victory as a Yankee
It can no longer be said that A.J. Burnett has never won a game for the Yankees during the month of August. His manager and his bullpen got Burnett over the hump Monday night at Kansas City in a 7-4 victory that lifted the Bombers back into a first-place tie with the Red Sox in the American League East.
Although it did not qualify as a quality start in the strictest sense of the term, Burnett pitched 5 2/3 innings and was cuffed for 10 hits, but all were singles. Catcher Russell Martin threw out two base runners and Burnett picked off another as the Royals kept running themselves out of innings. Burnett had one bad inning, a three-run fifth, that put KC in the lead briefly, but the Yankees retaliated with a three-run sixth to give A.J. a two-run lead.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi removed Burnett with two outs and a runner on first base in the sixth. The move in that situation meant that while Burnett could not be guarantee a winning decision he could not be hung with another loss, which has happened continually to him in August since his last victory that month in 2008, which came against the Yankees when he was with the Blue Jays. That was 14 August starts ago for Burnett, who over that stretch was 0-9 with a 6.27 ERA in 85 2/3 innings.
It was also Burnett’s first victory in eight starts since June 29 and his first against an AL team since June 1. He was 0-3 with a 6.00 ERA over 42 innings during the seven-start winless streak. The stat geeks keep telling everyone that victories aren’t that important in measuring a pitcher’s value, but the “W” sure seems vital to a pitcher, especially at times when he is struggling.
Burnett had Boone Logan, Rafael Soriano, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera to thank for maintaining the lead and to his other teammates for building it with a 13-hit attack against four Royals pitchers. Soriano gave up his first run in 11 innings since April 30, but Robertson and Rivera followed with two scoreless innings. For Mo, it was back to business as usual after three straight “blips” to post his 31st save and career No. 590, 11 shy of the all-time leader, Trevor Hoffman.
Leading the way offensively was Derek Jeter, who had a triple and two singles and drove in three runs. The Captain is batting .388 in August with two doubles, one triple and eight RBI in 12 games and 49 at-bats. Go back to July 4 when he returned from the disabled list, Jeter is batting .326 with eight doubles, one triple, two home runs and 24 RBI in 34 games and 138 at-bats, raising his season batting average 22 points to .282.
Brett Gardner reached base three times with a pair of singles and getting hit by the first pitch of the game and drove in two runs. Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher also had two hits apiece. Jorge Posada had another nice game with a single and a walk and two runs.