Going into Saturday afternoon's game at Fenway Park, Yankees starter A.J. Burnett had been pretty good in a New York uniform.
The $82.5-million man was 2-0 with a 3.20 ERA in his first three starts.
There was some concern though, when ex-Yankee (and current Indian) Carl Pavano actually outpitched A.J. last weekend at new Yankee Stadium.
On Saturday afternoon in the FOX Game of the Week, Burnett looked good early on.
For the first three innings, A.J. held the Red Sox scoreless, while his teammates battered Boston starter Josh Beckett for a 6-0 lead.
In the fourth, however, the tables turned, when the Red Sox loaded the bases off A.J.
Jason Bay singled to drive in Boston's first run, and Jason Varitek delivered a two-out grand slam to cut the Red Sox's deficit to 6-5.
In the fifth, A.J. got rocked again. Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a homer to tie the game, and Burnett proceeded to load the bases with no outs.
After A.J. got a 3-2-3 double play ball, he started celebrating by pumping his fist.
He needn't have done that, however, as Bay promptly doubled to drive home two more runs, and give Boston an 8-6 lead.
Surprisingly, manager Joe Girardi allowed A.J. to stay in the game to get the last out of the inning.
But wouldn't you know it, the Yankee offense have just rallied to let A.J. off the hook. With Beckett still in the game for Boston, ex-Sox Johnny Damon has just homered with Derek Jeter aboard, to tie the game, 8-8.
This is the second straight game the Yankees have had to bail Burnett out.
Had the Yankees not rallied last weekend against the Indians' bullpen, Carl Pavano would have bested Burnett—which would have been a shocker... Pavano (who was a major bust in New York from 2005-08) getting a win at the Yankees' new ballpark before one of the current Yankees starter?
And in this one, had the Yanks not given A.J. all that run support, he would be staring at an embarrassing loss. They gave up eight runs in the first five innings, yikes. Not exactly a stopper-like performance (after the Yankees had lost to the Red Sox in extra innings one night earlier).
Isn't it amazing how the two team's fortunes have reversed since 2004? On Friday night, the Yankees led 4-2 in the ninth and loaded the bases with no outs. They couldn't score. One inning earlier, they had a runner on third with two outs but couldn't score.
Then Mariano Rivera served up a two-out, two-run homer to Bay to tie the score, before Kevin Youkilis homered in the 11th to end the game.
According to Yahoo! Sports, this was the first time in the New York—Boston rivarly that the Sox had rallied with a ninth-inning game-tying homer and an extra-inning walkoff shot against the Bombers in the same game.
And on Saturday afternoon, the Yankees let the Red Sox take a temporary 8-6 lead after going up 6-0.
The Yankees in the past just didn't do that... in back-to-back games, no less. These were the types of gut-wreching games the Red Sox used to blow to the Yankees before 2004—seemingly every year, without fail.
Oh, how the tables have turned.
If the Red Sox do win on Saturday (the game is still in progress at the time this blog was posted), what will the papers in New York say?
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