Sunday, June 28, 2009

A.J. Puts Out Met Fire In Yankee Win

A.J. Burnett is pumped up at Citi Field last night after limiting Mets to just one hit in Yankees' 5-0 win. Bombers have taken four of five from Mets this season. (Photo courtesy of New York Daily News)

When the Yankees picked up A.J. Burnett in the offseason, his career record of 5-0 with a 2.56 ERA against the Boston Red Sox had a lot to do with the 5-year, $82 million contract the team signed the righthander to. Just three months into the season, Burnett has demonstrated the ability to dominate another of the Bombers' hated rivals, shutting out the Mets through seven innings as he and two relievers combined on a one-hitter in the Yanks' 5-0 win over the Mets at Citi Field. The Yankees have now won four out of five against their crosstown adversaries this season; their first season series win since 2003, when they swept the boys from Flushing. The Yankees are 41-30 lifetime against the Mets in the regular season since interleague play was implemented in 1997, and won the 2000 World Series in five games against the Mets; clinching their 26th (and most recent) championship at Shea Stadium.

Back to Burnett for a second. In 14 innings against the Mets this season, he is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA, allowing just five hits and striking out 18. Burnett was on the mound two weeks ago today when the Yankees demolished Johan Santana and the Met bullpen in a 15-0 thrashing on June 14th; and last night's outing lowered his ERA to 3.93.

"I want to throw one," said Burnett when asked about a no-hitter. Burnett has a no-no in his career already, accomplishing that while with the Florida Marlins. However, that feat gets overshadowed by the nine walks Burnett surrendered in that game against the San Diego Padres in 2001. "I'm not one of those pitchers who doesn't know he's got one going. I was shooting for it."

Mets manager Jerry Manuel, whose team collected just three hits against CC Sabathia and the Yankee staff on Friday, said of Burnett: "I thought we'd do a little bit more against him, but we weren't able to get it done."

The Mets look to avoid a sweep tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern time, with Livan Hernandez opposing the winless Chien-Ming Wang on the mound at Citi Field.

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