Ex-Yanks spark 4-run seventh vs. Burnett

Cleveland Indians' Austin Kearns, right, is congratulated by

Cleveland Indians' Austin Kearns, right, is congratulated by Shelley Duncan after Kearns hit a three-run home run off New York Yankees starting pitcher A.J. Burnett in the seventh inning in Cleveland. (July 4, 2011) (Credit: AP)

CLEVELAND -- The night started out being all about Derek. It ended up being all about A.J.

And afterward, perhaps most significant, it was all about closer Mariano Rivera, who was unavailable because of a sore triceps and is questionable for Tuesday night, Joe Girardi said.

Derek Jeter resumed his chase for his 3,000th career hit Monday nightafter spending nearly three weeks on the disabled list with a strained calf, but he went 0-for-4 in the Yankees' 6-3 loss to the Indians in front of a sellout crowd of 40,676 at Progressive Field.

"No problems,'' said Jeter, six hits shy of 3,000. "As the game went on, it felt a lot better.''

But Rivera, who blew a save opportunity for the fourth time this season Sunday against the Mets, didn't feel particularly good -- not after Sunday's game and not Monday, when he said he still felt "soreness'' in the triceps. But he said he isn't worried.

"Hopefully, tomorrow we'll be ready to pitch,'' he said. "I'm not concerned about it, I can tell you that. I'm not concerned at all. It's things that happen.''

The Yankees -- held hitless by Josh Tomlin through six innings before picking up three hits in the seventh, including a two-run double by Nick Swisher -- didn't feel too good afterward, either.

The unavailability of the closer played a big role in the decision to leave in Burnett long enough to cough up a 2-0 lead and allow the Indians to take a 4-2 lead.

The seventh was highlighted by a pair of big opposite-field hits by two former Yankees -- an RBI single by Shelley Duncan and a three-run homer by Austin Kearns, who in two previous at-bats against Burnett had hit long fly balls.

"My bullpen was short tonight,'' Girardi said, "and I needed him [Burnett] to get through the seventh.''

David Robertson would have been the closer -- possibly brought in for a four-out save, Girardi said -- had Burnett held the lead. He didn't, but in fairness, he should not have had to face Duncan or Kearns and should have exited the seventh with a 2-0 lead.

With two outs and a runner on first in the seventh, Lonnie Chisenhall lofted a catchable foul ball down the leftfield line that fell between Alex Rodriguez and Brett Gardner. Chisenhall wound up walking on the eighth pitch of the at-bat.

"I saw the ball OK off the bat,'' Gardner said. "The whole time I was running to it, I knew it was kind of right in between us. I just wasn't sure if I could get to it, so I couldn't call it any earlier.''

Blame me, A-Rod said. "Bottom line is, for me, that ball's got to be caught,'' he said. "If I get a better jump on that ball, maybe I make that play. Bottom line, I have to catch that ball. For him to lose a game in that type of situation is not good.''

Burnett then got ahead of Duncan 0-and-2 before he punched his seventh pitch, an outside fastball, down the rightfield line for an RBI single. Two pitches after that, Kearns -- who entered the at-bat 20-for-104 (.192) with no home runs this season -- hit a three-run shot into the first row of seats in rightfield for a 4-2 lead.

Burnett shrugged off the misplay -- "It's on me,'' he said -- and was more irritated with issuing two of the four walks he had in the game in the inning.

"I felt like I was pretty much keeping them off balance all night, throwing everything to everybody,'' said Burnett (8-7), who gave up four runs and four hits in seven innings and tied a season high by throwing 115 pitches. "They battled their tails off against me in that seventh and they won the battle.''

Curtis Granderson hit his 23rd homer with two outs in the eighth off Vinnie Pestano to bring the Yankees within 4-3. But Carlos Santana added a third opposite-field hit in the bottom half, a two-run homer over the leftfield fence off Cory Wade.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Baseball videos

advertisement | advertise on newsday