“What can you do?” Jeter said to MLB.com. “It’s one of those days. Just come back tomorrow. We won two games today, that’s the most important thing.”
A.J. Burnett (11-8) pitched six strong innings to pick up the victory and snap a four-game losing streak. He allowed one run on four hits and three walks and struck eight batters in his first win since July 27 — a span of seven starts.
Mark Teixeira keyed the offensive explosion with two home runs — a three-run shot in an eight-run third inning and a solo blast in the sixth — as the Yankees blasted Rays right-hander Andy Sonnanstine (6-9) out of the game in the third inning.
Sonnanstine pitched two hitless innings before he was pounded for eight hits and two walks as 13 batters came to the plate in the inning. That gave Burnett all the runs he really needed as he coasted the rest of the way.
With the two victories on Monday and the Boston Red Sox 5-1 loss to Mark Buehrle and the Chicago White Sox, the Yankees now lead the second-place Bosox by a season-high nine games in the American League East.
The team’s record improved to 89-50 and the 89 wins equaled the numberof wins the Yankees had all of last season when they failed to win the American League East or make the playoffs for the first time in 14 seasons.
Manager Joe Girardi was pleased with Burnett’s effort.
“It was big,” Girardi said, “He threw some good games in this time that he doesn’t have a win, and we didn’t score any runs. It was nice to get him some runs tonight and watch him do his thing and do some work.”
Girardi also said he did not think Jeter was pressing in his quest for the record.
“No, I don’t,” Girardi told MLB.com. “There are days that you’re not going to get hits. You don’t see it very often with him, but I don’t think he’s pressing.
“It’s kind of interesting that he didn’t get a hit tonight. He hit a ball up a middle, they dive and they catch it. You want to see him get through this and put it behind him. He hit a ball to left field and the guys all jumped up and thought he had a hit earlier in the game. It’ll save us all some energy when we finally get through this.”
“It’s kind of hard to be frustrated when we’re winning by a lot of runs,” Jeter said. “It’s not the first
time I’ve gone a game and not gotten a hit or gone a day and not gotten a hit. At this point in the season, the most important thing is to for us to continue playing well.”
Burnett struggled in the first inning when he allowed consecutive doubles to Gabe Gross and Evan Longoria that made it 1-0. He then walked Pat Burrell before striking out Willie Aybar and getting Gregg Zaun on a flyout.
He allowed only two hits and two walks the rest of the way and he was pleased by the run support he got in the third.
“You don’t get upset,” Burnett told MLB.com. “Any time they score like that, it makes you relax a little more. Every pitch had conviction behind it, 100 percent,” Burnett said. “I think that showed. Jose [Molina] did a good job back there. I went pitch-by-pitch and didn’t let a lot of things bother me.”