Only problem: Burnett couldn't hear the cheers. He was battling a sinus infection, a throat infection and a head cold that had his ears clogged something fierce.
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"I feel terrible," Burnett said after allowing three runs in five innings as the Yankees opened the season 2-0 behind three-run home runs by Mark Teixeira and Russell Martin and a solo shot by Alex Rodriguez.
Burnett, who suffered through a 10-15 season in 2010, was good enough to get the win after being spotted a 6-0 lead in the first two innings.
It was 53 degrees when the game began at 4:11 p.m., 11 degrees warmer than Thursday's Opening Day, and Burnett pitched with short sleeves. He said he felt OK at the start but began to sag as the sun went down and the wind started blowing around the ballpark.
"That was when it was worse, that last inning," he said. "But it was all right. I was good early and toward the end, I kind of wore down."
Burnett started strong, throwing a 94-mph fastball on his first pitch and getting Austin Jackson to swing through it. Jackson later struck out on a 95-mph offering. He finished the inning by getting Ordoñez on a curve in the dirt, something he would stick in his memory bank for later.
Miguel Cabrera led off the second with a double, but Burnett struck out Victor Martinez and, after throwing a wild pitch, struck out Brennan Boesch looking. Jhonny Peralta flied to center to end the inning.
Working out of his first jam of the season was no small shakes for Burnett. He accepted the prosperity the Yankees' offense gave him and watched it double when Teixeira hit a three-run homer to right -- his second in as many games -- in the second inning for a 6-0 lead.
Teixeira, a notoriously slow starter, hit .136 with two home runs and nine RBIs in 22 games last April. He has two homers and six RBIs in two 2011 games.
Burnett's only blemish in the first four innings came after he fell behind Jackson 3-and-1 in the third and came in with two fastballs. Jackson missed the first but hit the second into the leftfield seats for a solo homer.
The Tigers scored two runs on three hits and a walk in the fifth to make it 6-3, but Burnett limited the damage. With the score 6-2, the bases loaded, one out and David Robertson warming, Burnett got Will Rhymes to ground a changeup to first for a run-scoring out. He then struck out tying run Ordoñez on another 0-and-2 curve in the dirt on his 86th and final pitch.
"It's a good feeling to get out of that jam," said Burnett, who allowed five hits, walked one and struck out six.
"Listen, people forget we won a championship [in 2009] with A.J. being our No. 2," Rodriguez said. "A.J.'s got electric stuff. I know I didn't have any fun facing him when he dominated us when he was with the Jays. A.J.'s going to have a big year for us."
Martin's three-run homer off lefthander Brad Thomas in the fifth made it 9-3.
Rodriguez hit his first home run of the season and 614th of his career leading off the sixth, a prodigious blast into the ambulance bay in left-centerfield. He was the first batter ever faced by righthander Brayan Villarreal.