Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Lance Berkman DH
Curtis Granderson CF
Brett Gardner LF
Francisco Cervelli C
RHP A.J. Burnett (9-9, 4.87)
Burnett vs. Royals
Gregor Blanco CF
Willie Bloomquist 3B
Billy Butler 1B
Wilson Betemit DH
Alex Gordon LF
Mike Aviles 2B
Mitch Maier RF
Bryan Pena C
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
RHP Bryan Bullington (0-2, 4.85)
Bullington vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 2:10 p.m. / YES Network
UMPIRES: HP Mike Muchlinski, 1B Gary Cederstrom, 2B Ed Hickox, 3B Fieldin Culbreth
WEATHER: First day game of the series, but it’s not nearly the hottest game of the series. Temperatures are in the 80s with almost no chance of rain.
THREE TIMES TWO: Alex Rodriguez is the fifth player to hit three home runs in a game more than once as a Yankee. Rodriguez has done it twice. Lou Gehrig did it four times, Joe DiMaggio three times, Tony Lazzeri and Bobby Murcer each did it twice.
ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL: The Yankees have won 13 of their past 15 series finales, including seven of their past nine on the road. If they win today, they will have gone 4-2 on this road trip. The have the major’s second-best road record this season.
CLIMBING CAPTAIN: With a hit today, Derek Jeter will pass the immortal Zack Wheat for sole possession of 36th place on baseball’s all-time hits list. Jeter and Wheat are currently tied at 2,884. Up next is Al Simmons, who has 2,928.
UPDATE, 2:25 p.m.: After a couple of hits, a stolen base and a throwing error gave the Royals a 1-0 lead in the first inning, Alex Rodriguez very nearly tied the game in the second with a deep drive to center field. Gregor Blanco caught it just in front of the wall.
UPDATE, 2:52 p.m.: Burnett worked a quick 1-2-3 third inning, but the score is still 1-0 as Bullington got through the Yankees lineup once without allowing a hit.
UPDATE, 3:15 p.m.: It only took the Yankees four-plus innings to finally get a hit off Bryan Bullington. Of course, they followed that with a double play. They seriously can not hit guys they’ve never seen. Meanwhile, Lance Berkman limped off the field after a bang-bang play at first.
UPDATE, 3:29 p.m.: Single for Brett Gardner, then he’s caught stealing. Bullington has still faced the minimum with two outs in the sixth. Crazy.
UPDATE, 3:40 p.m.: Good A.J. just bailed out his defense, stranding a runner at third and keeping this a 1-0 game through six innings.
UPDATE, 4:00 p.m.: Berkman must be hurt, otherwise there would be no reason to pinch hit Thames in that situation. Meawhile, Bullington — who I’ve called Burlington at least four times this afternoon — is through eight scoreless innings. Unreal.