Homers by A-Rod, Posada back Burnett
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A.J. Burnett couldn't recall having done it before.
"It was actually probably the first time in my career I've called a pitching coach out," he said.
The Yankees righthander motioned for Larry Rothschild after walking Matt Wieters with two outs in the second inning. The previous batter, Mark Reynolds, doubled, and suddenly Burnett, leading 3-0, seemed in danger of doing what he did far too many times last season.
Ignite a huge inning.
But Burnett got the next batter, the start of a streak of seven retired. By that point his offense had given him more than enough cushion Wednesday night in what became a 7-4 victory over the Orioles on a damp and chilly evening at the Stadium.
"I tell him, 'I'm landing on my heel, what's going?' " Burnett said of his conversation with Rothschild. "He just reminded me of things I've worked on. With Larry it's all about confidence. Your stuff's good enough. A lot of times when we talk, that's all it is."
Burnett has won his first three starts of the season for the first time. He had a spectacular outing become merely average after allowing two-run homers to Wieters and Brian Roberts -- both with one out -- that brought the Orioles within 7-4 in the seventh.
Those homers put somewhat of a damper on Burnett's night, and he was the first to credit his offense for allowing him some room for error.
The Yankees, shut down by Boston's Josh Beckett Sunday night, produced 12 hits, including a three-run homer by Alex Rodriguez in the first inning. A solo shot by Jorge Posada in the fifth snapped an 0-for-19 skid for the designated hitter and made it 7-0.
"We haven't played in a couple of days," A-Rod said. "It was great to have A.J. out there throwing well."
Derek Jeter, who came in hitting .206, and Mark Teixeira, who entered hitting .182, each had two hits. Robinson Cano, steady all season, ripped a two-out, two-run double in the three-run second that made it 6-0.
"We come out swinging the bats like that, I've got a four-run lead, I can take a breath and go at it and not worry about every pitch," Burnett said.
The pitch that most pleased Burnett was his changeup. It's one he annually talks about in the spring before mostly abandoning it in the regular season. But his new bullheaded catcher, Russell Martin, keeps calling it -- 16 times Wednesday night -- and the results were good for the most part.
"His changeup's a really good pitch," Martin said. "It's something I saw in the bullpen in spring training . . . It was weird him not knowing how good of a pitch it was."
Burnett struck out five, walked two and threw three wild pitches. No one is saying he has turned the corner completely, certainly not with a 4.67 ERA. Besides, he was 4-0 with a 1.99 ERA last season after six starts, and is 8-0 with a 4.04 ERA in April as a Yankee.
But coming off a career-worst year, Joe Girardi pointed out the obvious: "It sure beats the alternative."