A.J. Burnett hadn’t won a game in weeks. He hadn’t felt good about a start in months. And he had never experienced victory as a member of the New York Yankees when the calendar flipped to August.
The Kansas City Royals were the perfect opponent to change all
Burnett managed to scatter 10 singles over a shaky 5 2-3 innings Monday night, and Derek Jeter drove in three runs to help the Yankees beat Kansas City 7-4 and finally give the right-hander something to feel good about.
“It makes you feel a part of it,” Burnett said after his first victory since June 29, a stretch of seven mostly miserable starts.
“There are a lot of things to keep you not too content, but yeah,
it feels good.”
Burnett (9-9) had been winless in 13 starts in August since signing a five-year, $82.5 million deal with New York, going 0-8 with a 7.18 ERA. His late season struggles, combined with his poor recent performances, are a big reason that manager Joe Girardi has considered dropping him from the starting rotation.
But the right-hander had allowed only four runs over 26 1-3 innings against the Royals since joining the Yankees, so it figured that Burnett would have a good chance to get back on the right side of the ledger.
Brett Gardner added a pair of RBIs, and Mark Teixeira and pinch hitter Andruw Jones also drove in runs for the Yankees (73-46), who moved back into a tie with idle Boston for the AL East lead.
Mariano Rivera wrapped up the victory, pitching a perfect ninth
for his 31st save.