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Inconsistent A.J. on display Friday

A.J. Burnett

Starting Pitcher
New York Yankees

Profile

The inconsistencies of A.J. Burnett were on full display in the Bronx on Friday night.

Burnett pitched phenomenally in the sixth when he struck out four Colorado hitters after one strikeout victim reached on a wild pitch. He became just the second pitcher in baseball history to accomplish the feat twice in his career, joining Chuck Finley, who did it three times.

The problem was, Burnett couldn't harness his considerable arsenal in the early innings; he allowed Colorado to score four runs on seven hits and five walks in the first 4 1/3 frames of the Yankees' 4-2 loss to Colorado.

Afterward, Burnett blamed his lack of command for the early-inning meltdown. At one point, his ball to strike ratio was 32:26.

"I'd much rather have a strikeout than a walk," Burnett said. "The walks hurt us tonight. Being as erratic as I was kinda took us out of the game."

Burnett (7-6, 4.15 ERA) gave up home runs to Jason Giambi and Troy Tulowitzki in the second and fourth innings, respectively. But he settled down in the sixth, striking out Chris Iannetta, Carlos Gonzalez and Chris Nelson. Nelson reached first after Martin couldn’t handle the last pitch he swung at. Burnett buckled down and got Todd Helton to swing at strike three to end the inning.

It was the first four-strikeout-in-one-inning performance since Seattle’s Felix Hernandez did it on June 3, 2010. Burnett last did it July 5, 2002 against the Mets.

“That’s just luck, I guess,” he said.

Burnett wasn’t happy when Joe Girardi came to take the ball from him with one out in the seventh. He appeared to be complaining that he was being taken out after 105 pitches. He said afterward that his tantrum was not a personal attack against Girardi.

“I should probably watch that out there a little bit better,” Burnett said. “(Girardi’s) done such a good job with us. It’s never personal and he takes care of us really well. But you just never want to come out of a game, ever.”