A.J. Burnett nearly won each of his first four starts this season and brought a 3-0 record -- despite not pitching all that well -- into Monday night's game against the White Sox.
He was very good in start No. 5, but former Met Phil Humber was even better. Humber no-hit the Yankees for 61/3 innings in the White Sox's 2-0 victory in front of 40,506 at the Stadium.
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"It's impressive to do that against this lineup for sure,'' Burnett said of Humber, who pitched nine innings for the Mets in 2006-07 after they made him the third overall pick in the 2004 draft.
Burnett was pretty impressive himself, allowing one run, three hits and two walks in eight innings. But the one run was enough to beat him as Humber (2-2), making only his sixth career start, allowed one hit -- a ground-ball single up the middle by Alex Rodriguez with one out in the seventh -- and two walks in seven innings.
Then he gave way to the Chicago bullpen, which had been mostly awful in 2011, but Chris Sale and Sergio Santos got the job done this time. The Yankees had only three singles, two walks and a hit batsman and hit into two double plays.
"Humber was really good tonight,'' Joe Girardi said. "He seemed to just keep us out in front of balls. Had a lot of ground-ball outs and we didn't really seem to center many balls up on him. He did a good job in getting ahead in the count a lot and expanding the zone when he needed to.''
A-Rod's single in the seventh put runners on first and second, but Robinson Cano struck out and Nick Swisher grounded out.
Pinch hitter Eric Chavez singled with two outs in the eighth and pinch runner Eduardo Nuñez stole second, but Derek Jeter was retired on a comebacker to end an 0-for-4 night.
"He pitched great today,'' Granderson said of Burnett. "For us to not be able to give him any run support, definitely a tough one.''
Said Russell Martin, "We mixed in and out really well, I thought, but for the most part, he just battled. It was one of those days where I feel like he didn't have his best command, but he just found a way to compete out there and get through it.''
The White Sox -- who had lost 10 of their previous 11 games -- snapped their streak of 23 straight innings without a run in the fourth. Carlos Quentin began the inning by sending a sinking line drive to center. Granderson dived for the ball and just missed it, and when the ball squirted behind him, Quentin had a double. Two grounders brought him home with the only run Humber needed.
"I've seen him make that play many times,'' Burnett said of Granderson. "It's an aggressive play. I'd rather guys be aggressive out there than not. Nine out of 10 times, he comes in and catches that ball. I make a few pitches after that, maybe it's a different story.''
Rafael Soriano replaced Burnett to start the ninth, and Alexei Ramirez reached base when his pop-up just behind the mound fell in front of the charging Jeter. With the ball in the air, Soriano pointed straight up, but he stood there as the ball landed on the grass. That set the stage for Paul Konerko's RBI single.
"It's a pretty well-placed soft pop-up,'' Girardi said. "Sori's probably the only guy that could have got it, and I'm not sure he would have got it either.''
Soriano told reporters: "You think I could catch that? No, I don't think so. I thought somebody would be there.''