Burnett appears to have self-corrected, though probably with a big assist from pitching coach Dave Eiland.
Wednesday night made it two straight outstanding starts since Eiland returned from his leave of absence, with Burnett throwing seven strong innings as the Yankees completed a three-game sweep with a 6-2 victory over the A's in front of 31,518 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
Burnett, 0-5 with an 11.35 ERA in his starts from June 4 to June 26 that coincided with Eiland's absence, won his first game since May 30, allowing two runs and five hits. (Burnett received a no-decision Friday in a 6-1 loss to the Blue Jays, allowing no runs and four hits in 62/3 innings).
"His [last] two starts have been tremendous,'' Girardi said. "The first run they get on a walk, a wild pitch then a base hit, but he was stingy with his base hits. He had command of his fastball and his changeup, best changeup he's had since he's been with us. He threw it very effectively tonight. Good to see."
Burnett (7-7, 4.75) received plenty of offensive support as the Yankees (53-31) had 12 hits, with Nick Swisher finishing a triple shy of the cycle and a still-hot Mark Teixeira hitting his second homer of the series, a three-run shot that capped a five-run fourth inning.
Lefthander Gio Gonzalez (7-6) began the night with a 3.50 ERA but has had trouble with the Yankees. He lasted only four innings Wednesday night, allowing five runs and eight hits. In a loss to the Yankees on April 20, Gonzalez managed only 41/3 innings.
Swisher, in his last game to impress voters to win an online contest for an All-Star Game bid, had three hits, including his 14th home run that gave the Yankees a 6-1 lead.
"It's fun to be part of,'' Swisher said of the fan balloting. "I've never even come this close to ever being in an All-Star Game so I'm enjoying the moment."
Later he said: "Obviously if this would happen, it would mean the world to me."
The start of the game didn't portend an offensive outburst as the Yankees stranded five in the first three innings, going 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
Swisher doubled to lead off the third, then tagged and went to third on Teixeira's line out to right. Swisher was stranded, however, as Rodriguez struck out looking and Posada struck out swinging.
Burnett cruised through the first two innings and looked as if he'd do the same in the third, retiring the first two A's. But Burnett walked No. 9 hitter Cliff Pennington, who stole second. Coco Crisp followed with a single to left that brought in Pennington to give the A's a 1-0 lead.
Burnett noted that Eiland was a presence, talking to him and catcher Francisco Cervelli after every inning.
"He doesn't leave us alone,'' said Burnett, who was smiling when he said that. "You can go 1-2-3 on six pitches and he'll come over there. But that's what he's there for. He just tells you what you did wrong on a few pitches. Just that reassurance of what you're doing out there."
The Yankees seemed headed for more frustration in the fourth when Thames led off with a single but was erased as Cervelli grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.
But Gardner walked and stole second. Peña, who came in batting .192 with nine RBIs, dropped a single into right to bring in Gardner, tying it at 1. Peña took second on a wild pitch and Jeter, who snapped his 19-game streak without an RBI Tuesday, sliced a single down the rightfield line to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. Swisher walked and Teixeira ripped Gonzalez's first pitch to deep center, a three-run shot for a 5-1 lead.
Burnett allowed single hits in the fourth and fifth innings but no runs. In the sixth he got into trouble when Daric Barton walked with one out and Ryan Sweeney singled. Kurt Suzuki fouled out but Burnett couldn't get out of the jam as Jack Cust delivered a two-out single that brought in Barton to cut the Yankees' lead to 6-2.