TBS’ Brian Anderson put it best: “You have got to tip your cap to AJ Burnett”. Allan James Burnett – scapegoat, head case, and an afterthought – came through with an undeniably clutch start to lead the New York Yankees in a 7-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers. With the victory, the Yankees and Tigers are now tied at 2-2 a piece in the best of five series, with the winner advancing to the ALCS to square off the Texas Rangers.

AJ is now AJ - AP

Recap

 

IP

H

R

ER

K

BB

A. Burnett

5.2

4

1

1

3

4

R. Porcello

6

5

4

4

5

1

In the first, AJ got himself into trouble quickly, prompting thoughts of your typical blow-up inning and the season coming to a screeching halt. He walked three batters and allowed a scorching line drive to center field, which was miraculously caught by Curtis Granderson. The catch momentarily saved AJ’s start, season, and possibly AJ’s Yankee career.

After the first, however, AJ settled in to essentially shut down the Tiger offense. He allowed a home run to Victor Martinez, but besides that, the Tigers really couldn’t answer the call. He pitched until there were two outs in the sixth, when Rafael Soriano, one of the Game 3 goats, was called in to get the final out of the inning with a runner on base. On his first pitch, Jhonny Peralta hit a bloop to left-center field that was somehow, someway caught by Curtis Granderson, again saving runs from scoring.

Derek Jeter started the Yankee scoring off of Detroit starter Rick Porcello with a two-run double to deep center over the head of former Yankee farmhand Austin Jackson. Give credit to Russell Martin, who had magnificent slide around the tag to beat the relay throw. The Yankees would later add two insurance runs off of Porcello via a double by Curtis Granderson and a sacrifice fly by Alex Rodriguez.

The rest of the game after the 7th inning was business as usual as the Yankee bats came to life. To start the eighth inning, the Yankees had six straight baserunners. All together, the Yankees poured on six runs, highlighted by a Robinson Cano single that netted two runs. The aforementioned Rafael Soriano completed his end of the seventh inning, and Phil Hughes and Boone Logan came in to finish out the contest.

You really can’t put into words what this start for AJ Burnett meant to the fanbase and the team. Regardless of AJ’s season from July onward, and regardless of the outcome on Thursday, AJ Burnett has momentarily redeemed  himself in the eyes of many doubtful Yankee fans, including myself.

What’s Next?

Thankfully, a much-needed day off for both teams before the series-finale at the Cathedral in the Bronx. It’s the only major-sporting event on television, so get tuned into see if ROTY-candidate Ivan Nova can lead the Yankees to the ALCS to face the Texas Rangers.

8:00, TBS. Doug Fister (11-13, 2.83 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (16-4, 3.70 ERA)