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Burnett outstanding, but bullpen costs Yankees

New York Yankees' A.J. Burnett gestures to the

New York Yankees' A.J. Burnett gestures to the crowd as he leaves the game against the Toronto Blue Jays during the seventh inning. (July 2, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

Getting the good A.J. and the good Joba on the same day probably was a bit too much to ask.

A.J. Burnett, who entered with a five-game losing streak in which he had gotten pounded, pitched one of his best games of the year. But Joba Chamberlain couldn't hold the one-run lead he was handed in the eighth.

David Robertson and Chan Ho Park then allowed five runs in the 11th as the Yankees lost to the Blue Jays, 6-1, before 45,792 Friday afternoon at the Stadium.

"I didn't perform well today. I stunk today," Robertson said. "I cost us the game."

Robertson (0-3) may have taken the loss, but it shouldn't have gotten to that point. Chamberlain left to a shower of boos after allowing the tying run with two outs in the eighth, but the offense deserved that treatment most of all.

The Yankees failed to score after loading the bases with none out in the third and went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position to extend that streak to 0-for-19. Their final 13 batters were retired in order.

"This offense is going to hit, but right now we're scuffling a little bit," Joe Girardi said.

After Derek Jeter singled, Nick Swisher walked and the two pulled a double steal, Mark Teixeira walked to load the bases with none out in the third. Alex Rodriguez got ahead of Brett Cecil 2-and-0 - but six pitches later, Cecil had struck out A-Rod and Robinson Cano, and Jorge Posada grounded out to end the inning. "We just haven't been getting the hits when we've needed them," Swisher said. "But you can't get frustrated with it. That's when it starts to snowball."

Handed a 1-0 lead on Rodriguez's sacrifice fly in the first inning, Burnett kept it that way, shutting out the Blue Jays for 62/3 innings and leaving to a standing ovation. He allowed four hits and three walks, striking out six.

Burnett had allowed 29 runs in 23 innings in his previous five starts, all of which were made with pitching coach Dave Eiland away for personal reasons. Burnett has made a point of not blaming interim pitching coach Mike Harkey, but his comments regarding Eiland's return this week have been telling.

"Everybody has certain ways to relate to people. He makes Arkansas talk, he likes to call it," Arkansas native Burnett said. "So it's good to hear his voice, good to have him back."

With one out in the eighth, Chamberlain got ahead of Jose Bautista 0-and-2 before walking him. "That's the price you pay for not being aggressive enough," Chamberlain said. An out later, Adam Lind's single sent Bautista to third, and when Chamberlain hung a slider, Aaron Hill hit it through the hole into leftfield to tie the score.

The inning could have been worse had it not been for Brett Gardner's leaping catch up against the leftfield wall, which robbed Alex Gonzalez of at least an extra-base hit.

With the bases loaded and one out in the 11th, Robertson allowed Alex Gonzales' RBI single on an 0-and-2 hanging curve. He was charged with four runs after Park gave up a two-out walk to Vernon Wells that forced home a run and a three-run triple by Dewayne Wise.

Park, whose ERA rose to 6.66, said, "I don't think I'm struggling." But Robertson wasn't so easy on himself or the rest of the bullpen. "A.J. threw the ball really well. He gave us a good chance to win," he said. "We kind of let him down today."

Lots of that to go around.


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