For the Yankees, life is good. They’ve gotten contributions from all ends in the six games since the break, and have taken all six contests. The latest came earlier this afternoon in the series finale against the Orioles. The Yankees sent out A.J. Burnett, hoping he’d replicate the success he’d had leading up to the break. They were not disappointed.
Burnett scattered six hits and three walks over seven innings of work, tossing 104 pitches and getting 68 over for strikes. That’s a bit more than we’re used to seeing from Burnett. He ran into trouble a couple of times, both on out of the ordinary plays. In the third Nick Swisher dropped a fly ball led to a first and third, none out situation, and then a second and third, one out situation. Swisher got his redemption, though, running down a line drive by Ty Wiggington to end the frame.
The jam in the seventh didn’t end so painlessly. Robert Andino, the Orioles No. 9 hitter, bounced one sky high in front of the plate. By the time it came down neither Posada nor Burnett had a chance to make a play. Adam Jones later doubled, and Nick Markakis knocked in the Os first run with a sac fly. The Yanks were out of the inning when Aubrey Huff hacked at strike three in the dirt, but it bounced away from Posada and Jones scored. That’s quite a painful way to surrender two runs.
The action picked up again in the ninth. Phil Hughes had pitched the eighth, but the Yankees tacked on a run in the bottom, so Brian Bruney came in to close things out. It was his first appearance since July 10, and we’re all familiar with his struggles of late. Things looked good, as he struck out Andino, on three pitches, and Roberts, on a two-two count.
Then Adam Jones homered on the first pitch he saw. Okay. Forgivable. Adam Jones is good, and that was probably a poorly placed pitch. But when Nick Markakis followed two pitches later, that was enough. Girardi made the slow walk to the mound, summoning Rivera for the one-out save. Rivera completed striking out the side, and the Yanks picked up another victory.
We often hear about the Yankees struggling against rookie pitchers they’ve yet to see — in fact, I think it’s brought up in some capacity every time, win or lose. Today they not only got to Jason Berken, but they got to him early. It helped that Brian Roberts bobbled a Robinson Cano bouncer with the bases loaded, but when the frame was over the Yanks had jumped out to a 4-0 lead. That would be enough for Burnett to cruise through the rest of the game.
It’s tough coming up with new things to say after all these wins. The Yankees played well. They hit with runners in scoring position: 7 for 15. They got some timely pitching and made some good defensive plays (even if they were making up for previous blunders). It was an all-around great effort, as it has been since the break (and before). Teams that play like this will win ball games. That’s what they tell me.
It’s back to work tomorrow. A’s are in town for a four-game set. CC Sabathia gets to open things up. Until then, treat this as your open thread. But treat it gently.