April 14, 2009

Burnett's gem burns Rays

In dire need of a win, the Yankees rallied late against the Rays' bullpen tonight to force a rubber match tomorrow afternoon.  A.J. Burnett was brilliant (as planned) for eight innings, and even held a no-no going into the seventh.

Quick 'Cap:
The Yankees did everything right in this one.  They took the lead early, and they kept the bats going until the end.  Brett Gardner singled off Matt Garza to lead off, and then later scored on a Jorge Posada sac-fly.  Then "St. Nick" Swisher led off the fourth with a liner that went over the wall for a homer.  

Meanwhile, Burnett still hadn't allowed a hit, but had walked Pat Burrell in the second inning.  However, when Burnett allowed his first hit in the seventh to Carl Crawford, the Rays wouldn't stop.  Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena followed Crawford with singles to put the Rays on the board.  Pat Burrell followed with a sac-fly to tie the game at two.

The Yankees quickly retaliated in the eighth inning starting again with Brett Gardner.  He doubled and then scored on a deep fly ball to left field off Mark Teixeira's bat.  After Burnett shut the Rays down in order in the bottom of the eighth, the Yankees stuck it to the Rays' bullpen.  Gardner hit a ground-rule double to score Robinson Cano, and then Derek Jeter sealed the deal with a three-run shot to right-center field.  Full box score here.

The Yankees must have heard about my preview, because the game went pretty much according to my plan.  Instead of 6-2, it was 7-2, but I am just content with the win.  This win was huge for the Yankees because it shuts up all the fans who thought yesterday's blowout was a big deal.  You are going to have a high scoring game no matter what if the starting pitcher doesn't pitch two innings.  I'm looking forward to the series finale tomorrow.

Offensive Notables:
- Brett Gardner had his first big slugging day as a Yankee; he had two doubles and scored all three times he got on base.  He's batting .296 on the year (8-for-27).
- Nick Swisher deserves a crown.  He homered and doubled today raising his average to .458 (11-for-24).

Pitching Notables:
- A.J. Burnett was a stud tonight: 8 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, BB, 9 K.  He now his two big wins for the Yanks and is showing what he is capable of.  He's also showing that last season wasn't a fluke.  Let's just pray he stays healthy!

Up Next:
The Yankees will play tomorrow at 4:10 for the decisive third game of the series.  Two Andy's will go at it tomorrow: Andy Pettitte and Andy Sonnanstine.  Pettitte shined in his first outing, whilie Sonnastine got rocked.  We shall see if that means anything tomorrow.

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