Joe Girardi acknowledged that — with a lefty on deck and a lefty loose in the bullpen — it’s entirely “possible” he would have pulled A.J. Burnett in the third inning had he not induced a double play that let him intentionally walk a batter to face the pitcher. Had that Russell Martin at-bat ended differently, Burnett might have been done after six or seven outs.
Instead he stayed in, and a half inning later — with one out and runners on the corners — Girardi decided to once again stick with Burnett. For me, it was the most perplexing moment of the night. Needing only a sac fly to tie the game, Burnett was not lifted for a pinch hitter. He laid down a sacrifice bunt that moved a runner to second, and Derek Jeter struck out to end the inning.
“We were trying to get more out of (Burnett),” Girardi said. “Depending on what the situation was, we might have pinch-hit. The situation was I could sacrifice a runner over. Jeet had a hit the last time and had pretty good at-bats.”
Getting more out of Burnett meant facing two batters in the bottom of the fourth, each of whom reached base and one of whom scored.
“I had unbelievable stuff today,” Burnett said. “I had velocity. I had movement. I had a good hook. I got some broken bats early, but that third inning, I was overdoing it out there… “I know I’m better than that. We all know I’m better than that. And I will be better than that.”
Here’s Girardi’s postgame interview.
• Pinch hitting for Curtis Granderson was strictly because of the match-up. Granderson is not hurt.
• If you missed it during the game, Chad Moeller has cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He’s filling the roster spot opened by Juan Miranda going on the DL.
• Girardi said he has no intention of skipping Burnett’s next start. He doesn’t think it would help him because this is all about execution, not about needing his stuff to get better. “I don’t want to skip A.J.,” Girardi said. “I want A.J. to go out there and pitch, and pitch like he’s capable.”
• Burnett talked a lot about how much the other Yankees have been talking to him through this bad month. Andy Pettitte and Francisco Cervelli both pulled him aside after tonight’s game. “I’m with him,” Cervelli said. “If he loses, I lose too.”
• The Dodgers 10 walks tonight were a season high. Not exactly the stat you want to be giving up.
• The Yankees fell to 30-6 when scoring first. That’s the best in the American League.
• Dave Robertson has allowed one run through 8.1 innings this month. He’s struck out nine and walked three and allowed seven hits. He hasn’t allowed a home run since May 5.
• Birthday boy Derek Jeter went 1-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored, but he also struck out in his last three at-bats.
• Mark Teixeira has an eight-game hitting streak, he’s hit three home runs in the past seven games and he’s raised his average 19 points since June 6.
Associated Press photos of Burnett with Mike Harkey, and Teixeira with Jeter.