A.J. Burnett was everything the Yankees could have hoped for in his first postseason start Friday night. Apparently it wasn't everything he had hoped for; he threw a fit in the dugout after his final inning.
But Burnett said he was angry only at himself when he picked up his jacket and slammed it into something on the bench, perhaps packets of sunflower seeds or Bazooka Joe gum that the players have access to in little tubs. The seeds or gum or whatever went flying.
Then Burnett got to enjoy his 16th pie-in-the-face of 2009 when he got Mark Teixeira after the first baseman's home run in the bottom of the 11th inning gave the Yankees a 4-3 comeback win over the Twins in Game 2 of the ALDS at Yankee Stadium.
"What an experience," said Burnett, who allowed one run in six innings. "To be able to go out there and hear these people for however many innings we played, I'm so delirious right now. They're in every pitch, man, they're in every count. They never gave up on us. It's fun to be a part of."
Burnett said the emotion he showed in the dugout was self-directed. He's lucky he didn't hurt his pitching hand; the Yankees lead the series 2-0, but if the Twins take the next two in Minneapolis, Burnett will start Game 5.
Burnett allowed three hits, walked five, hit two and struck out six. Joe Girardi lifted him after 95 pitches. Was that what ticked off Burnett? No, he said.
"I was upset because I felt like I could have gave a little more," he said. "Gone deeper maybe, less walks. I guess the bottom line is not a lot of them scored. There was a guy on base pretty much every inning and somehow I was able to make a pitch."
Burnett was locked in a scoreless duel with Minnesota's Nick Blackburn until the sixth, when pinch hitter Brendan Harris hit a two-out triple to the left-centerfield wall to give the Twins a 1-0 lead. The Yankees tied the score in the bottom of the inning.
Pitching to personal catcher Jose Molina, Burnett didn't have any clean innings. He got out of all but one of those jams, although it took a mistake by the Twins to keep the game scoreless in the fourth.
After getting the first two outs, Burnett hit Delmon Young and Carlos Gomez. Matt Tolbert singled to right for what would have been the first run, but Gomez overran second base and slipped. Nick Swisher alertly threw the ball to second, where Derek Jeter was waiting to slap the tag on Gomez. Because that took place before Young crossed home plate, the run didn't count.