YANKEES 5, METS 0
After Saturday night’s game it would not have been too odd to see the Mets wave a white flag at A.J. Burnett. After two appearances the Yankees righthander can boast a 2-0 record with a run margin of 20-0.
Burnett (6-4) was even better than he was June 14 in beating Johan Santana 15-0. On Saturday he gave up only one hit and three walks in seven innings and he fanned a season-high 10 batters.
In his two games against the Yankees crosstown rivals he has pitched 14 innings of shutout baseball, giving up just five hits and seven walks and recording 18 strikeouts.
The victory at Citi Field also gave the Yankees four victories in five games against the Mets and they clinched the season Subway Series for the first time since 2003.
Burnett set the tone early by not giving up a hit in the first five innings. His only blemishes were walks to Gary Sheffield and Jeremy Reed in the second inning. Burnett was so dominant that he seemed poised to pitch his second career no-hitter.
Leftfielder Melky Cabrera, filling in for an ill Johnny Damon, aided Burnett’s no-hit cause with two great catches off the bat of Daniel Murphy. The second play in the fifth inning was a leaping over the shoulder grab just shy of the warning track.
But the Mets Alex Cora, leading off the sixth inning, took a hanging 0-1 curveball and smacked it into centerfield for a clean single to break up Burnett’s bid for another no-hitter. Cora had been hitless against Burnett in 22 career at-bats.
The Yankees offense actually was stymied early by Tim Redding (1-3). But Nick Swisher, batting lefthanded, did manage to hit a one-out solo opposite field home run off Redding to stake the Yankees to a 1-0 lead.
But Redding regrouped and retired nine batters in a row until Mark Teixeira reached him for a double off the wall in center sixth inning. The Yankees then quickly put an end to Redding’s night with three consecutive hits on three consecutive pitches.
Alex Rodriguez drove in Teixeira with a hot smash up the middle. Robinson Cano then lifted a fly ball to leftfield that Garfy Sheffield gave up on but the ball landed in fair territory for a double. Rodriguez, unsure whether Sheffield would catch the ball, was unable to score and stopped at third.
But A-Rod’s baserunning caution became a moot point when Jorge Posada, batting lefthanded, chased Redding from the game with an opposite field home run to left to make it 5-0 for the Bronx Bombers.
In 5 1/3 innings, Redding gave up 5 earned runs on 6 hits and two walks. He did strike out six batters.
Burnett and two Yankee relievers took it from there. Brian Bruney pitched a perfect eighth inning and David Robertson did the same in the ninth as the Yankees coasted to their fourth straight victory.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, they were unable to gain ground on the Boston Red Sox, who are in first place in the American East. The Red Sox beat the Atlanta Braves 1-0 to remain four games up on their rival Yankees.
But the Yankees did gain another game on third-place Toronto. The Blue Jays were hammered 10-0 by the defending World Champion Philadelphia Phillies. They now have fallen back to two games behind the Yankees.
The Yankees will go for a rare road sweep of the Mets with righthander Chien-Ming Wang (0-6, 11.20 ERA) scheduled to pitch against mets veteran righty Livian Hernandez (5-2, 4.05 ERA).
Wang has not faced the Mets this season but has a 1-1 record against them lifetime. Hernandez, meanwhile, is 0-3 with a 6.94 ERA lifetime against the Yankees. He got a no decision against the Yankees June 12 after allowing six runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. The Yankees eventually won the game 9-8 at Yankee Stadium.
Gametime is 8:05 p.m. EDT and the contest will be televised nationally by ESPN.
NOTES . . . Derek Jeter missed a second straight game with flu-like symptoms. Damon and Phil Hughes also have the illness and did not play . . . Burnett pitched Saturday night after serving a five-game suspension for an incident that occurred against the Texas Rangers on June 2. Burnett uncorked a pitch that just missed hitting Nelson Cruz in the head after two Yankees had been hit by pitches from Vicente Padilla. Major League Baseball suspended Burnett originally for six games but later reduced the penalty to five games in return for Burnett dropping his appeal. However, Burnett and the Yankees pitching staff was not inconvenienced at all. An off-day Monday allowed CC Sabathia to pitch on his regular rest Friday night and Burnett pitched Saturday on six days rest. Wang will pitch Sunday on his usual four days rest . . . Former Yankees infielder Andy Phillips has signed a contract to play baseball in Japan.