AJ Burnett threw seven scoreless innings as the Yankees beat the Rangers, 7-3.

Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Initial Reaction:

AJ Burnett just dominated today. He scattered six hits and struck out seven in seven strong innings. For the most part, the Yankees have enjoyed strong starting pitching performances during this short home stand.

Brett Gardner needs to play everyday (more below).

Positives From The Game:

The Brett Gardner Effect: In the 2nd inning, Gardner hit a slow chopper down the first base line. Ranger pitcher, Scott Feldman fielded the ball and made an errant throw.

The next three hitters? Derek Jeter single, Nick Johnson RBI walk, and Mark Teixeira RBI single (finally). This is the speed element I’ve been stressing all-spring. Gardner’s speed makes the defense hurry and creates runs.

The Brett Gardner Effect, Part 2: In the 3rd inning with runners on 2nd and 3rd base, Gardner hit another slow chopper to the shortstop, Elvis Andrus. He beat out the throw and earned an RBI. On the next pitch, Gardner stole 2nd base which allowed Curtis Granderson to take home from 3rd base. Derek Jeter homered a few pitches after Gardner stole 2nd.

Speed Kills: The Yankees beat out five balls for infield hits.

Joba Rules: Joba Chamberlain came in and threw a perfect frame in the 9th inning to preserve the victory.

Negatives From The Game:

1-2-3, 6th/7th/8th: The Yankees went down in order during the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings, but the game was already in hand.

Alfredo Aceves: Ace yielded an 8th inning three-run home run to league leader, Nelson Cruz.

Interesting Facts:

584: Number of career home runs by Alex Rodriguez. His 4th inning blast vaulted him ahead of Mark McGwire for 8th place on the All-Time HR list.

42: Number of at-bats it took Alex to hit his first home run this season.

1,500: Jorge Posada picked up his 1,500 career hit today.

13: Nick Johnson’s walk total through eleven games this season.

39: Number of pitches thrown by Texas “Ace” Scott Feldman in the 2nd inning. Feldman left after 2 1/3 innings (73 pitches). The Yankees continue to wear starters out.

4: Runs created by Gardner in the 3rd inning. I mentioned the reasoning above, but his speed is a game changer.

What’s Next?:

The Yankees will go for the sweep tomorrow.

Projected Starters: Rich Harden (0-0, 2.79 ERA) vs. Andy Pettitte (1-0, 0.75 ERA)