A.J. Burnett got the idea last Wednesday when he watched Felix Hernandez shutout the Yankees in the Bronx. He’d seen it before, a power pitcher with a changeup, but something about Hernandez drove home the point one more time.
“It was after we saw King Felix,” Burnett said. “He was dropping changeups on everybody. Just talked to Cervi about using it more. We used it a handful of times last game, and probably double that tonight.”
The changeup will never be Burnett’s go-to pitch, but as an alternative to the curveball, it can be effective. Tonight, Joe Girardi said Burnett had the “best changeup he’s had since he’s been with us.”
“I hardly ever use it, and (Hernandez) was punching every righty out on it once he got ahead,” Burnett said. “We started using it last game against righties a couple of times, and then we used it to both tonight. Got a couple of outs, got a double play on it. Everybody, when I get ahead, they look curveball. It just gives me another weapon.”
• Since being named to the final all-star ballot, Nick Swisher is hitting .471 with two doubles and his 14th home run of the season. Tonight, in his final game before the results are announced, he was a triple short of the cycle. “Obviously it would be an amazing honor for me,” Swisher said. “We’ll find out tomorrow.”
• Two hits for Ramiro Pena, making an oh-so-rare start at second base. That included the first two-out RBI. “Pena doesn’t get a lot of at-bats right-handed,” Girardi said. “And he gets two big hits for us tonight.”
• Speaking of two-out RBI, that five-run fourth inning started with two outs and no one on base. It came immediately after the Yankees put six men on and scored none of them in the first three innings. “It’s just playing hard, doing your job,” Girardi said. “When you put this uniform on, you have a job to do, and part of that job is just playing hard. If you don’t get it done the first time through, you work your rear end off to get it done the next time through.”
• After the longest no-RBI streak of his career, Derek Jeter has now driven in a run in two straight.
• Mariano Rivera was available tonight. “He was down there stretching,” Girardi said.
• Mark Teixeira’s three-run home run in the fourth was his second home run of the series and his 15th of the season.
Associated Press photos of Burnett and Teixeira.