AJ Sharp As Offense Does Just Enough to Beat Toronto, 4-2

Burnett pitched a game that was alternatively a maddingly plodding affair punctuated by some clutch interludes to keep an equally torpid offense in the game long enough to scare up four runs.  Cano hit his 13th homer this year, a big blast over the bullpen in right center, A-Rod belted a solo shot in the bottom of the eighth for insurance, and the Yanks rode some walks, a bunt single, and a passed ball to two runs in the fifth.  Nice offensive diversification, two blasts and reliance on the generosity of Tallet.

However, it worked because the Yanks got a strong, seven-inning start and two innings in which only Hughes surrendered a measly single.  He’s been tremendous out of the bullpen–1.32 ERA, 13 2/3 IP, 6 hits, 2 runs earned, 3 walks, and 16 K’s–nothing short of Joba-like, throwing 95-96, snapping his curve and slider.  Mariano entered and got two K’s, as well as a gem of a running catch in center by Brett the Jet, to notch his 21st save this year and 503 in his incredible career.  Burnett is now 7-4 with a 3.83 ERA, allowing just six hits, two walks, and two runs earned while fanning 7 on 112 pitches/68 strikes.  It just didn’t feel as good as it looked, for Burnett went to some long counts in the first three innings, and worked slowly whenever he had men on base.  Yet he made few mistakes, grooving a belt-high fastball that Vernon Wells deposited in left to cut the Yanks’ lead to 3-2 in the sixth.  Teixeira had a single and an RBI walk with the bases loaded in the fifth, when they should have had more than two except for their wanton inability to drive the ball out of the infield.

Nonetheless, the win was a big one, returning the Yanks to their high-water mark of 13 games over .500.  For the time being, until tonight’s games, the Yanks sit 2 1/2 games behind Boston in the East.  Not to be overlooked, Halliday (10-2, 2.56 ERA) faces Wang (1-6, 10.06 ERA) and, while Wang has been better, the Yanks may well face a game tomorrow afternoon no less tight than today’s game.  The whole series has good pitching match-ups, with Joba (4-2, 3.89 ERA) facing Scott Richmond (6-5, 3.69 ERA) Sunday and lefty Ricky Romero (6-3, 2.85 ERA) facing Pettite (8-3, 4.25 ERA) Monday.  None are gimmees, so today’s win was vital.

Published in: on July 3, 2009 at 5:29 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Good job by the boys tonight. It is imperative they at least split with Toronto. We can’t let them gain any ground in the wild card or AL East race. Halladay owns us, but they need to take it to the Jays the next two games. I have not seen the past couple games because I am currently in South Carolina dying of the heat and humidity.

    Jason, I am still reading Nixonland. I will let you know what I think of the substance of the book when I finish it. Perlstein is deeply liberal and he doesn’t hide it in his writing. Also, if you remember the 1960s you weren’t there.

  2. this was a game that even though we were always ahead it felt tenuous to me..despite AJ’s dominance. the team worries me simply because of the continued poor hitting with RISP…still a great way to begin what i fear will be a very tough series

  3. I hope you enjoyed SC, Tim. All historians have their biases, Perlstein definitely has his. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t written a good, important work. I get your quip about the Sixties, but did Nixon or Reagan have remembered the Sixties?

    I was impressed with what the Yanks did against Toronto, Mike, definitely finding different ways to win games. Losing the series finale was tough, but Pettite wasn’t sharp, and has at times been left in too long–maybe too trusted?–by Girardi. 11th with RISP at .261 isn’t good enough, and the losing skid really hurt these numbers. But you’re right–even in some wins, they’ve tanked it with runners on. Last night was great, hitting with RISP and rallying with lots of base hits and walks. Those just wear out opponents, and they had Minnesota buried early.

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