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A.J. Burnett Overcomes Early Struggles As Yankees Sting Rays

Christopher WoodleyContributor IIIApril 11, 2010

ST. PETERSBURG - APRIL 11:  Pitcher A.J. Burnett #34 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on April 11, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

After allowing two runs in the first inning, A.J. Burnett (1-0) rebounded to pitch six scoreless innings as New York topped Tampa Bay, 7-3, Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field. The Yankees completed their season-opening road trip with a 4-2 record. They also improved to 11-4 in their last 15 games against Tampa Bay.

After being shutout on Saturday, Tampa Bay immediately scored in the bottom of the first. Jason Bartlett led off with a single, stole second base, and scored on Carl Crawford’s RBI single to center. Crawford also stole second and scored on an RBI fielder’s choice by Carlos Pena to give Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead.

Burnett settled down and retired the next eight Rays hitters. By the time Burnett left after the seventh inning, he had limited the Rays to two runs on six hits with three walks and one strikeout. With the Yankees, Burnett is 5-0 against Tampa Bay.  

New York scored their first run in the top of the second when Curtis Granderson’s two out double plated Alex Rodriguez. The game remained tied until the top of the sixth. With one out, Robinson Cano doubled to right off of Rays starter James Shields (0-1).

After Randy Choate relieved Shields, Jorge Posada greeted the new pitcher with a two-run shot to left field to give New York a 3-2 advantage. Granderson followed with a single, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch by Lance Cormier. In the bottom half of the inning, Burnett escaped a bases loaded jam to preserve the Yankees lead.

In the seventh inning, Rodriguez smacked a two-run double off the left field wall. Nick Swisher completed the Yankees scoring with a solo home run in the eighth, his first of the season. Of the 20 runs New York scored in the series, 11 came off of the Tampa Bay bullpen.

After a day off on Monday, New York will return to the Bronx on Tuesday for the home opener. The Yankees will receive their 2009 World Series rings prior to the game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Ervin Santana (0-1, 6.00) will face Andy Pettitte (0-0, 1.50) and first pitch is set for 1:05 p.m. ET. New York has won nine of their last 10 home openers.

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