Wednesday, July 22, 2009

20 Over

For the second game in a row, the score ended up 6-4 in favor of the home team. For the second time this season, the Yankees have completed a sweep of the Orioles at the New Yankee Stadium. They've held their opponents to 2 1/3 runs per game on this homestand and have taken each of the six games by the slim margins of either one or two runs. They're now 1.5 games up on the Sox and 20 games over .500 for the first time since 2007.

The Yanks struck early, jumping out to a comfortable lead in the first inning and never looking back. They scored four times against Jason Berken before it was over, with A-Rod and Cano driving in a run each and Swish adding a two out single for two RBIs of his own. Jorge Posada chipped in a solo home run in the third inning to make the score 5-0, where it would stay until the 7th inning. He added an RBI double in the 8th.

A.J. Burnett kept the Orioles at bay by working around two baserunners in each of the first four innings but then settled down in the 5th and 6th allowing only a walk to the illustrious Greg Zaun in between those 6 outs. The O's did managed to scratch across two runs in the 7th. The first one came on a sac fly and the second crossed the plate when Burnett struck out Aubrey Huff on a nasty curveball for what should have been the third out of the inning. Instead, the ball bounced off the plate and rolled far enough away from Posada for Adam Jones to sprint in from 3rd.

Over his 7 innings, Burnett allowed 6 hits, struck out 6 and walked 3. Although his pitch count started to climb in the early innings, he settled down a bit and ended with 104 (68 for strikes). He was seemingly in control at all times, even though he was constantly pitching from the stretch. A.J. was both helped and hurt by Nick Swisher, who made an E6 to start the 3rd but redeemed himself with a running (and run-saving) catch to end the inning and another against the wall in the 5th.

Phil Hughes pitched a scoreless frame in the 8th, and with a four run lead going into the 9th, Joe Girardi called on Brian Bruney to finish the game. He struck out the first two batters he faced before being stopped in his tracks by back to back solo homers from Adam Jones and Nick Markakis. Mo came on to clean up the spill and stuck out Aubrey Huff looking to end the game and picked up a cheapie save. It was win #9 on the season for Burnett and the fourth straight decision that's gone in his favor.

After the game, Bruney flippantly answered reporters' questions saying, among other things “I just wanted to get Mo a save, that’s what a set-up man does". He also said that he has his best stuff of the year and felt like he did back in April. It's seemingly becoming a trend for Yankees' pitchers to react delusionally to their bad outings and refuse to admit their mistakes. Joe Girardi didn't seem to have a problem with it, but giving up back to back jacks in 2/3 of an inning of work isn't "pitching well" no matter how you cut the cake.

The Sox are on ESPN tonight at 8:00 as they look to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Rangers and keep their deficit in the division at 1 and lead in the Wild Card at 3.5. In case you didn't hear, they made some exciting moves today, ones that will surely have a major impact on the pennant race (not really).

How do you like the view from the top?

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